The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo is announcing the appointment of Jacopo Crivelli Visconti as curator of Brazil’s national representation at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Crivelli Visconti was currently the general curator of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo – Though it’s dark, still I sing, which closed on December 5 at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion.
José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, president of the Fundação Bienal, explains that “although it is traditional to appoint the curator of the Bienal de São Paulo to the curatorship of the Brazilian representation at the Venice Biennale, the choice of Jacopo Crivelli Visconti is owing to the broad knowledge that the curator demonstrates about Brazilian contemporary art, to his previous experience as the curator of a national representation in Venice, to his good integration with the Fundação’s team, and to the affinity between the concepts he has mobilized at the 34th Bienal de São and those proposed for the 59th Venice Biennale.”
To represent Brazil at the oldest biennial in the world, Crivelli Visconti, for his part, selected artist Jonathas de Andrade (1982, Maceió, Alagoas, Brazil), one of the most representative Brazilian artists of his generation, and who also participated in the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016) with the video installation O Peixe [The Fish], subsequently shown, in the following year, in a solo show at New Museum (New York, USA), and in the 29th Bienal de São Paulo (2010). “In his works, the artist seeks the idea of an authentically popular culture, in all the possible senses and intrinsic complexity of this term. He takes the body – mainly the male body – as his guiding axis for dealing with themes such as the world of work and of the worker, along with the identity of the individual in contemporaneity, through metaphors that fluctuate between nostalgia, eroticism and political and historic criticism,” says the Brazilian Pavilion’s curator.
For this edition, Andrade is working on a brand-new installation, commissioned for this occasion, in dialogue with the theme of this year’s Venice Biennale. “This invitation is a surprise and an honor. Nevertheless, the idea of representing Brazil today, wherever, is a great challenge primarily for the responsibility in the context of the crucial complexities the country is currently facing. Hopefully, art will manage to translate the tangled knot it is to live in our times and will manage to inspire dreams that allow us to untie those knots,” the artist states.
Curated by Cecilia Alemani, the Biennale Arte 2022 takes its title from the book The Milk of Dreams by surrealist artist Leonora Carrington (1917, United Kingdom – 2011, Mexico). In Alemani’s words, “the artist describes a magical world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of the imagination, and where everyone can change, be transformed, become something and someone else. The exhibition takes us on an imaginary journey through metamorphoses of the body and definitions of humanity."
The Brazilian participation at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo's prerogative to realize Brazil's official representation at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia is the fruit of a partnership with the Special Secretariat for Culture, which is responsible for developing the country's cultural exchange policies. The Brazilian participations at the Architecture and Art exhibitions organized by La Biennale di Venezia take place in the Brazilian Pavilion, which was built in 1964, designed by Henrique Mindlin, and is maintained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
About Jonathas de Andrade
Jonathas de Andrade (1982, Maceió, AL) lives and works in Recife (PE). He develops videos, photographs and installations based on the production of images, using strategies that blend fiction, reality, tradition and negotiation. One of de Andrade’s most emblematic projects is the set of works he has brought together at the Museu do Homem do Nordeste [Museum of the Man from the Northeast], conceived as a possible counterpoint to the anthropological museum created in 1979 by Gilberto Freyre, which still exists in the city of Recife. While the original museum reviews the region’s identity and colonial history based on a gathering of artifacts and historic objects, de Andrade shifts its gaze to the people, revealing the way that relations of power and class bear the traces and consequences of history. Other recent works, such as Jogos dirigidos (2019) and Infindável mapa da fome (2019-2020) spring from a process of shared experience and exchange with communities from different places around Brazil that carry the marks of very specific historical processes, resulting in authentically collaborative works, where the notion of authorship is dissolved and becomes more complex. His solo exhibitions have included Jonathas de Andrade: Um pra Um, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, (2019); O Peixe, New Museum, New York, USA (2017); On Fishes, Horses and Man, The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2017); Visões do Nordeste, Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2017); and Museu do Homem do Nordeste, MAR – Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro, RJ (2014–2015). Group shows he has participated in include most notably the 16th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2019); Artapes, MAXXI: National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome, Italy (2018); the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, SP (2016) and the 29th Bienal de São Paulo (2010); Unfinished Conversations: New Work from the Collection, MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, USA (2015); and Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today, Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2014).
Jacopo Crivelli Visconti (1973, Naples, Italy) is a curator and art critic based in São Paulo. He holds a PhD in architecture from the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), and was a member of the team of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo from 2001 to 2009, when he curated the official Brazilian participation at the 52nd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia (2007). His recent works include: Untimely, Again, Pavilion of the Republic of Chipre at the 58th Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2019); Brasile – Il coltello nella carne, PAC – Padiglione d’arte contemporanea, Milan, Italy (2018); Matriz do tempo real, Museu de Arte Contemporânea of the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil (2018); Memories of Underdevelopment, Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego, USA (2017); Héctor Zamora – Dinâmica não linear, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil (2016); Sean Scully, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil (2015); and Ir para volver, 12th Bienal de Cuenca, Ecuador (2014). He is the author of the book Novas derivas (WMF Martins Fontes, São Paulo, Brazil, 2014; Ediciones Metales Pesados, Santiago, Chile, 2016). He regularly collaborates with publications on contemporary art, architecture and design, contributes to exhibition catalogs, and writes monographs on artists.