In July, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo presents a special digital program entirely dedicated to the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the 1st Bienal de São Paulo, held in 1951. Besides the contents prepared by the Fundação for the occasion, artists, singers and actors are getting together around this important cultural moment to share their memories about the last 70 years of the Bienal. Through a campaign with the theme Bienal: há 70 anos, você não sai você [Bienal: for 70 years, you don’t leave as you], people as diverse as Mariana Ximenes, Linn da Quebrada and Anna Maria Maiolino commemorate the anniversary of the largest international show of contemporary art in the southern hemisphere and the second oldest in the world.
With a wide range of products, such as a podcast, publications and documentary, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo aims to thread the various histories that involve each Bienal. Since its first edition in 1951, there have been 33 editions of the Bienal, with the participation of approximately 140 countries, 11,500 artists or artist collectives, more than 70,000 artworks and 8.5 million visitors. The 34th edition, entitled Faz escuro mas eu canto [Though It’s Dark, Still I Sing], has been underway since February 2020 with an enlarged program and will reach its apex starting September 4, 2021, with the opening of the large group show at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion and a series of shows in the network of partner institutions throughout the city of São Paulo.
“The 70th anniversary of the Bienal de São Paulo is a time for the celebration of all Brazilian culture. The holding of the first Bienal in 1951 forever changed Brazil’s relationship with contemporary art and with the international circuit. Now, 70 years later, we want to honor this legacy, consolidating and disseminating this memory to the public, both to the art lovers already familiar with this history as well as to those who want to know more about the Bienal. We have created projects with various partners of different reaches, to tell the history of the last seven decades from plural and complementary perspectives,” states José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, president of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo.
The commemorative program
The commemorative activations will begin on Saturday, July 3, with the launch of the first episode of the podcast Bienal, 70 anos, a co-production by the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and UOL, and the re-edition of Linha do Tempo da Bienal de São Paulo [Timeline of the Bienal de São Paulo], which will be available for purchase at Livraria da Travessa. On the last day of July, the short film Arquivo Histórico Wanda Svevo: o passado em perpétua construção [Wanda Svevo Historical Archive: The Past in Perpetual Construction] will debut on Canal Arte 1 and will later be available on the Bienal’s YouTube channel and on the Bienal portal.
All of the activations will be available on the new page “Bienal 70 anos” of the Bienal portal and will be continuously updated. Moreover, the Bienal’s Instagram, with over 270,000 followers, will also tell the story through content posted daily about each of the posters of the show’s 34 editions. A campaign of weekly newsletters will present the highlights of these initiatives to the public.
The commemorations of the 70 years of the Bienal de São Paulo will last until 2022, with the planned release of two more initiatives: a book of new commissioned essays edited by Paulo Miyada, and a series of mid-length documentaries about the history of the show, directed by Carlos Nader and produced in partnership with Itaú Cultural.
Learn more about each of the projects:
Podcast Bienal, 70 anos
In partnership with UOL, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo is releasing the podcast Bienal, 70 anos, consisting of ten episodes that seek to recover and trace parallels between the history of the various editions of the Bienal and the cultural and social scenarios of their respective times. Narrated by presenter Marina Person and with an original soundtrack designed and edited by Fernando Cespedes, the podcast Bienal, 70 anos will feature light and dynamic content accessible to all Portuguese-speaking audiences.
Episodes 1 through 8 will concentrate on a decade, from 1950 to 2021, and episodes 9 and 10 will have bonus content with public interaction. The episodes will always be released on Saturdays (July 3 to September 4) and will be made available free of charge on all the streaming platforms, on Splash, UOL’s entertainment platform, and on the Fundação Bienal’s Soundcloud.
Besides presenting interviews with important names of contemporary art, such as Ivo Mesquita, Agnaldo Farias, Claudio Tozzi, Aracy Amaral and Sheila Leirner, specialists from other areas will also make appearances to comment on the social and cultural context of each period. For example, Beth Lima, a professor in the Course of Occupational Therapy of the University of São Paulo, will comment on the work of Nise da Silveira and its impact on the practice of contemporary artists.
Timeline of the Bienal de São Paulo
Due to the success of the first print run, the Linha do Tempo da Bienal de São Paulo [Timeline of the Bienal de São Paulo] was revised, expanded and reprinted as a bilingual edition for the 70th anniversary of the 1st Bienal, covering from then until the 33rd edition. Initially published in 2012 as an experimental graphic project in partnership with the Oficina Tipográfica São Paulo (Escola SENAI), the publication is a concise and accessible presentation of the key details of each edition of the show, such as the number of artworks, artists and participating countries, the title, the curatorial team, a brief synopsis, and the poster for that edition of the event, along with exhibition installation views. In accordion-like format, the publication literally unfolds into a 4.5-meter-long line with sections each dedicated to an edition of the show and reproductions of elements of that show’s visual identity, including its typography. The Linha do Tempo da Bienal de São Paulo will be on sale starting July 3 at Livraria Travessa, in its physical stores and online.
The Wanda Svevo Historical Archive: The Past in Perpetual Construction
With the participation of actor Lima Duarte as the voice of Ciccillo Matarazzo and narrated by Angela Dippe, the short documentary film Arquivo Histórico Wanda Svevo: o passado em perpétua construção [The Wanda Svevo Historical Archive: The Past in Perpetual Construction] visually delves into the Bienal Archive and its symbolism in the history of the Bienal de São Paulo. The video is made up of archival images, many of them being revealed for the first time, as well as on-site filmings of the Bienal Archive and the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion along with an interview with Ana Mattos, an MA in Digital Information and Knowledge Management, and the manager of the Bienal Archive since 2013.
The short film directed by Danilo Komniski, subtitled in English, reminisces on the institution’s history from the point of view of its archive, since its creation by Wanda Svevo up to the increasing professionalization of its practices, which also allows artists participating in the Bienal de São Paulo to mobilize it in artworks, as has already been done by Mabe Bethônico, Bruno Moreschi and others.
Bienal 70 anos book
With a release planned for the first semester of 2022, the Fundação Bienal is producing a book consisting of new articles and essays concerning crucial moments of the Bienal’s history, which reflect its relationships with the history and culture of Brazil and the world. The publication will feature 30 texts commissioned from authors of different profiles, including Thiago Gualberto, Lyz Parayzo, Claudio Bueno and João Simões, Veronica Stigger, Naine Terena and Fernanda Pitta, Michael Asbury and Clarissa Diniz. The book is edited by Paulo Miyada, adjunct curator of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo and winner of the 63rd Prêmio Jabuti (2020), in the Art Essays category, with the book AI-5 50 ANOS – Ainda não terminou de acabar.
Bienal 70 anos documentary
A mid-length documentarie about the history of the Bienal the São Paulo is being produced, with release planned for the first semester of 2022. Made in partnership with Itaú Cultural, the films are directed by Brazilian documentarist Carlos Nader, three-time winner of the prize for best documentary at the É Tudo Verdade festival (2008, 2014 and 2015).
The Bienal: for 70 years, you don’t leave as you
The 70 years of the Bienal de São Paulo have consisted of people and their stories. The campaign Bienal: há 70 anos, você não sai você [The Bienal: for 70 years, you don’t leave as you] conducted by the advertising agency Tech & Soul, emphasizes the transformative role of art by way of video statements. Figures as diverse as actress Mariana Ximenes, graffiti artist Enivo, and artists Anna Maria Maiolino and Rodrigo Andrade, among others, came together to congratulate the Bienal for its 70 year running. The videos are released weekly on Bienal's Instagram.
Podcast Bienal, 70 anos
10 episodes, on Saturdays, from July 3 through September 4, 2021
Free access through the main podcast players, on YouTube, on Splash, UOL’s entertainment platform, and on the Fundação Bienal’s Soundcloud
Co-production: Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and UOL
Realization: Ministry of Tourism, Special Secretariat of Culture and the São Paulo State Government, through the Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy
Linha do tempo da Bienal de São Paulo
Editorial coordination: Diana Dobránszky
Available for purchase at Livraria da Travessa
Short film Arquivo Histórico Wanda Svevo: o passado em perpétua construção
To be released on July 31, 2021, at 10 p.m. (GMT-3), at ARTE 1
Available starting August 1, 2021, on the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo’s YouTube channel
Direction: Danilo Komniski
Production: Cinema Vivo
Media support: ARTE 1
Realization: Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and the São Paulo Municipal Secretariat of Culture through the Municipal Pro-Mac Program for the Support of Cultural Projects.