The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo announces the opening of the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible, curated by Diane Lima, Grada Kilomba, Hélio Menezes, and Manuel Borja-Villel, with an architectural and exhibition design by the architectural firm Vão. With 121 participants, the 35th edition reaffirms its tradition of placing the city of São Paulo in the spotlight of contemporary art for the next three months. You can find more information about the curatorial project here.
From September 6, approximately 1,100 works by 121 participants will be on display at the Ibirapuera Park Pavilion. After extensive research into the urgencies of our times, the curators affirm: “Our aim was to create an edition without categories or limiting structures. This vision was born from within our curatorial team, where we embraced a decentralized system, moving away from traditional norms. We made a conscious choice not to have a chief curator, thereby dissolving hierarchical structures. Our roster covers a broad spectrum of artistic forms and voices from all over the world. So, the question that remains is: how are the impossibilities of our daily lives reflected in artistic production? The choreographies of the impossible help us to understand that all of us find strategies every day that challenge the impossible, and it is these strategies and tools for making the impossible possible that we will find in the artists’ works.” The full list of participants is available here.
In this first post-Covid Bienal de São Paulo, José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, president of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, adds: “It is with conviction that I say that a Bienal with such striking and challenging characteristics gives us the opportunity of reaching other levels of perception of the world. We find ourselves in a truly unique moment. Today’s world cries out for solutions to urgent issues, and art’s ability to spur us on to find some of these answers is remarkable, as the 35th Bienal de São Paulo demonstrates.”
A new route
In addition to the closure of the central span on the second floor, the 35th Bienal is presenting something new: an innovative itinerary proposal. Visitors will be able to go directly from the first level – called the green level – to the third level – or blue level – using the iconic internal ramps of the Pavilion designed by Oscar Niemeyer, and finish on the second level (purple), using the external access. The intention of the architects behind the idea, from the Vão group, is to create a new dynamic for the space, exploring and challenging the modernist work. “From the outset, our intention was to conceive a project that was situated between the desire not to reproduce the previous spatial choreography and the need not to impose a totally new choreography, detached from the internal logics. Our approach consisted of dialoguing with the existing structure and the possibilities available. This meant not only paying attention to reusing materials left over from past exhibitions, but also creating spaces based on the constructive elements that shape the Pavilion itself.”
As part of the enriching experience provided by the 35th Bienal, a public program – supported by the Open Society Foundations – has been meticulously put together, covering a variety of aspects, including musical presentations, activations of works, performances, meetings with artists, and panel discussions.
The exhibition’s first week, from September 5 to 11, will be marked by events such as the opening panel with the curators, Gladys Tzul Tzul, and Leda Maria Martins, as well as performances by Aline Motta, Amador e Jr. Segurança Patrimonial Ltda, Ana Pi, Benvenuto Chavajay, Guadalupe Maravilla, Luiz de Abreu, Rubiane Maia, and Will Rawls. In addition, activations will take place in the work of Ibrahim Mahama, involving both the exhibition artists and the curators. Sauna Lésbica will also be activated, accompanied by talks, conversations, and a party. Other activities include a workshop with Tejal Shah, activations of works by Nadir Bouhmouch and Soumeya Ait Ahmed, an activation of Denise Ferreira da Silva’s work, with the presence of Sadiya Hartmann, a lecture on Wilfredo Lam by Jacques Lenhard, and a concert by Niño de Elche. More information and bookings can be made here.
See below what will be available to the public over the course of the three-month exhibition:
Performances and activations of works
Aline Motta, Amador e Jr. Segurança Patrimonial Ltda, Ana Pi, Benvenuto Chavajay, Davi Pontes and Wallace Ferreira, Denilson Baniwa, Guadalupe Maravilla, Inaicyra Falcão, Luiz de Abreu, Marilyn Boror Bor, Nadir Bouhmouch and Soumeya Ait Ahmed, Niño de Elche, Ricardo Aleixo, Rubiane Maia, Sauna Lésbica, The Living and the Dead Ensemble, Ventura Profana, and Will Rawls will be involved in performances and activations throughout the exhibition period. See the program here.
Panel discussions and workshops
For this Bienal, the program of talks and workshops is rather intense and important. Be sure to take a look at the activities involving special guests in the Pavilion’s auditorium and in the spaces for works by Cozinha Ocupação 9 de Julho – MTSC, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Denilson Baniwa, Ibrahim Mahama, Nadir Bouhmouch, and Soumeya Ait Ahmed, and at the Sauna Lésbica.
Program of activations by the education team
The meetings include various activities, such as talks with guests, choreographing new movements for the educational publication, as well as activations of works in the exhibition and themed visits. See the program here.
The public program for the 35th Bienal is supported by Open Society Foundations
Histórias da Bienal
The Bienal reaffirms its commitment to extending its programming beyond the Pavilion. In a joint collaboration between the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and the Arte1 channel, presented by Bloomberg, the program Histórias da Bienal [Stories of the Bienal] will present a series of unpublished accounts to the general public. In 6 half-hour episodes, the program covers topics ranging from the creation of the Bienal, the relationship between art and politics, the participation of native peoples in exhibitions, to the role of curators in contemporary art, and the current edition. The series premieres on September 3 on Arte1, with new episodes released weekly, and can also be viewed from that date on Arte1 Play, on the Fundação Bienal’s YouTube channel, and in the 35th Bienal study area on the third floor.
José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, president of the Fundação Bienal, expresses the significance of this initiative: “The audiovisual medium continues to be one of the most effective ways of connecting with the public, and here at the Bienal we have a lot to share. We are one of the most globally recognized cultural events and hold the title of the second oldest Biennial in the world. We have a wealth of stories to share, which will undoubtedly spark the public’s curiosity and pride in the Bienal’s unique trajectory and significance, and we hope will also serve as an invitation to visit the show’s 35th edition.” In addition, the material will be used continuously by Fundação Bienal’s education team in promotion actions.
José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, president of Fundação Bienal, expresses the significance of this initiative: “The audiovisual medium continues to be one of the most effective ways of connecting with the public, and here at the Bienal we have a lot to share. We are one of the most globally recognized cultural events and hold the title of the second oldest biennial in the world. We have a wealth of stories to share, which will undoubtedly provoke the public’s curiosity and pride in Bienal’s unique trajectory and significance, and we hope will also serve as an invitation to visit the 35th edition of the exhibition.”
The 35th Bienal catalog has 352 pages and includes texts and images of the works by the 121 participants in this edition, including exclusive contributions by the artists, as well as essays written by guest authors and the curators. The guide to the 35th Bienal, comprising 288 pages, also includes texts and images of the works by the participants, and is available for purchase at Livraria da Travessa and the Bienal Shop located on the ground floor. In addition, the folder-map, provided freely at the information desk on the ground floor, contains a map of the exhibition along with useful information for visitors.
This year, the Bienal is introducing a new feature that is also free: a monthly updated distribution of the public program calendar, a publication that was created given the importance of the events taking place in this edition.
The second movement of the 35th Bienal’s educational publication, which will be launched on September 14 at 7 pm in an open talk with artist Rosana Paulino, is among the publications being launched. Entitled meu modo de pensar é um pensar coletivo / antes de estar em mim, já esteve nelas [My way of thinking is a collective way of thinking / before it was in me, it was already in them], the second movement features contributions from Rosana Paulino, Sueli Carneiro, Geni Núñez, and Kênia França, as well as from artists taking part in this edition.
In a mediated visit experience, a Bienal professional acts as a guide who not only explores the works on display, but also creates an enriching dialog with visitors, establishing a genuine exchange of knowledge and perceptions. Mediated visits take a variety of approaches: they can be scheduled in advance for groups, carried out spontaneously at designated times or even initiated by the visitors themselves, who have the opportunity to approach the mediators in the spaces allocated to mediation. Find out more about the mediation program here.
The Bienal in audio: inclusive audio guide to the 35th Bienal
With the voices of Dandara Queiroz, Isa Silva, Luanda Vieira, Renan Quinalha, and Stephanie Ribeiro, the inclusive audio guide for the 35th Bienal covers twenty of the works that make up the show. By following the proposed route – from Parliament of Ghosts, by Ibrahim Mahama, at the entrance to the exhibition, to Outres, by Daniel Lie, on the purple floor – visitors will be guided throughout the Pavilion.
Each of the tracks presents stories related to the works and comments on the participants’ processes. As it is an inclusive audio guide, it is also available in Brazilian Sign Language (Libras). The content can be accessed via the website 35.bienal.org.br/audioguia or via the QR Codes provided in the captions to the selected works.
Accessibility and inclusion
In addition to the mediated visits and the audio guide for the 35th Bienal, there are other inclusion initiatives, all planned with the support of Mais Diferenças, a specialized accessibility consultancy.
Texts in braille and enlarged font
The Fundação Bienal has prepared an accessible route for blind and partially sighted people, which can be complemented with curatorial texts and texts about the works printed in Braille and in versions with enlarged fonts and contrast. Simply visit the education – mediation areas to access the material.
In the education – mediation area on the green floor, visitors will find tactile models of Ibirapuera Park and the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion to aid their understanding of the building’s dimensions.
Poster and tactile floor plans
On each floor, visitors will find a tactile floor plan of the space and tactile versions of the exhibition poster, designed by the artist Nontsikelelo Mutiti.
The Bienal has elevators, access ramps, adapted toilets, and an emergency sound alarm. In addition, wheelchairs are available for use during visits – ask a public guide at the entrance to the Pavilion.
To make the experience of visiting the show easier, the Fundação Bienal has partnered with Bloomberg Connects, a free app with guides to over 200 museums and cultural spaces around the world. Simply download the app to expand your visit with information and details about this edition of the Bienal, including texts, photos, and videos about the participants and their works. You can watch videos about contemporary art, find out where the participants are in the show, and check the public program.
With a group of 32 virtual ambassadors, known as Voices, the Bienal echoes its values in the digital world and reflects on the issues raised by the works and participants in the show. Visit our Instagram highlights and meet the Voices: Ana Carolina Ralston, Ana Hikari, Astrid Fontenelle, Bárbara Alves, Dandara Queiroz, Djamila Ribeiro, Facundo Guerra, Fernanda Simon, Gilson Rodrigues, Isa Silva, Janaron Uhãy Pataxó, Johanna Stein, Kananda Eller, Kevin David, Laís Franklin Vieira, Luanda Vieira, Luísa Matsushita, Luiza Adas, Mari Stockler, Maria Carolina Casati, Maria Prata, Mel Duarte, Paulo Borges, Rachel Maia, Regina Casé, Renan Quinalha, Rita Carreira, Sabrina Fidalgo, Stefano Carta, Stephanie Ribeiro, Thai de Melo, Vivi Villanova.
With the slogan “Bienal de São Paulo: the meeting point for all points of view”, the advertising campaign for the 35th Bienal de São Paulo, designed by the DOJO agency and produced by Iconoclast, will be present in all the main media and all over the city. With the aim of highlighting the Pavilion as a space for diverse encounters, the campaign will use the first-person language of social networks (the POV) to illustrate how the exhibition welcomes a wide variety of interactions with art.
Press release from 35th Bienal de São Paulo