Essays on Geopoetics

The next edition now has a title: “Essays on Geopoetics”. Aracy Amaral is the guest curator. Designers have created the logo. Curators have launched a blog. The curatorial team travels throughout Latin America.

By the end of this week the curators for the 8th Mercosul Biennial will have held an intensive agenda of meetings in Porto Alegre to define the next stages for producing the event, which is to take place from September to November 2011.

Entitled Essays on Geopoetics, the 8th edition of the Biennial is concerned with territoriality and its critical redefinition from an art standpoint. It will bring together artists developing work related to the theme, based on geographical, political and cultural perspectives to address notions of locality, nation, identity, territory, mapping and border. The proposal also considers the city of Porto Alegre, the home of the Mercosul Biennial, as a place to be discovered and activated through art. This topic will be applied to the exhibitions and other activity strategies and will also run through the Education Program.

One exhibition already confirmed is by the Chilean artist Eugenio Dittborn, who will be the featured artist for this edition. A key artist in Latin America, his work is based on transterritoriality, nomadism and strategies for subverting borders and penetrating centres without being neutralised by them. The exhibition is planned to take place in Santander Cultural, showing the Airmail Paintings which the artist has been producing since the 1980s with a wealth of imagery and an impressive visual and material presence in a mixture of drawing sewing, painting and collage.

The curator and historian Aracy Amaral has joined the curatorial team as guest curator. A key figure in Brazilian visual art as an art historian, critic and curator, Aracy has been invited by the chief curator José Roca to organise the exhibition Morada ao Sul (Living in the South), to be shown in MARGS – The Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art. The exhibition will offer a critical view of the landscape of southern Brazil through the display of elements from local collections, such as maps, paintings, photographs, books, objects and documents from exploratory journeys. It will also present a multiple view of the territory by Brazilian contemporary artists, particularly those from Rio Grande do Sul, and other artists from Latin America.

Aracy completes the team, which also includes education curator Pablo Helguera (Mexico), adjunct curators Alexia Tala (Chile), Cauê Alves (Brazil) and Paola Santoscoy (Mexico) and assistant curator Fernanda Albuquerque (Brazil).

Meanwhile, the curators are working on setting up a Blog, which goes online in the third week of December, outlining the day-to-day conception and production of the 8th Mercosul Biennial with postings written by the curators themselves.

The logo for the 8 Mercosul Biennial has also been decided. Created by the Rio Grande do Sul artists and designers Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain, the logo is based on Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion map of the world, which shows continents without political boundaries and represents them to their true scale on a polyhedron that can be assembled in three dimensions. “Detanico and Lain have dismantled Fuller’s volume into its basic geometric components (triangles and squares) and rearranged it to form an ‘8’ that relates to the eighth edition of the Mercosul Biennial. The fragments of territory in this logo suggest a new and mutable map”, says chief curator José Roca. The logo will appear in different configurations for its various applications, in reference to territory that is constantly being realigned. The designers have used the same principle for proposing a special typeface, called Polígona, which will be used on all the Biennial print material.

More about the 8th Mercosul Biennial

The curatorial proposal envisages the effective participation of local and regional artists through exhibitions and other strategies, as well as specific activities in the Education Program. During the coming months the curators will therefore be continuing their research trips throughout Rio Grande do Sul and Latin America, which began in November.

The proposal for organising the Biennial is currently in its viability and budgetary phase. The proposed exhibition spaces for housing the 8th Mercosul Biennial are the Quayside Warehouses, Santander Cultural, MARGS – The Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art, and various other spaces in the state capital and other towns in Rio Grande do Sul. The education programme is soon to be announced, together with the date for public announcement of the complete curatorial project.

For reference

Created in 1996, the Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial Foundation is a private, non-profit organisation with a mission of developing cultural and educational projects in the field of visual arts, adopting best management practices and encouraging dialogue between contemporary art proposals and the community. On odd-numbered years the Foundation organises the Mercosul Biennial event, which is recognised as the world’s largest collection of events dedicated to contemporary Latin American art, offering thousands of people free access to culture and art.

Throughout its existence the Mercosul Biennial Foundation’s mission has always emphasised educational actions and the following guiding principles: focus on social contribution in pursuit of real benefits for its audiences, partners and sponsors; constant proximity to contemporary artistic creation and its critical discourse; transparency in its administration and all its actions; priority of investment in education and consolidation of the Biennial as a reference point in the fields of art, education, and research into those fields.

In its fourteen years of existence, the Mercosul Biennial Foundation has organised seven editions of the visual arts exhibition, in a total of 444 days of exhibitions open to the public, 57 different exhibitions, 3,882,672 completely free visits, 1,034,898 school bookings, 180,089 m² of prepared exhibition spaces, rediscovered and restored urban areas and buildings, 3,664 exhibited works and temporary urban interventions and 16 monumental works left for the city, 138 sponsors and supporters throughout its existence, the participation of 1,261 artists, more than one thousand direct and indirect jobs created for each edition, together with lecturers, talks, workshops, teachers’ courses and mediator training and employment for 1,248 young people. The Mercosul Biennial Foundation Board, and Administrative and Fiscal Advisors work voluntarily.

All the Foundation’s events and actions are provided to the public free of charge, with funds supported by a wide network of sponsors, partners and supporters.