Basque artists Asier Mendizabal and Juan Pérez Agirregoikoa at the 31 Bienal de Sao Paulo

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2014-06-11

The 31st edition of the Bienal de São Paulo (Brazil), which opens on September 6, has confirmed the presence of two Basque artists among its participants: Asier Mendizabal (Ordizia, 1973) and Juan Pérez Agirregoikoa (Donostia-San Sebastián, 1963). In addition, the Etxepare Basque Institute has signed a collaboration agreement with the Bienal to support the presence of Basque artists and dissemination of Basque culture in this important event.

 

Guided by the motto “Como falar de coisas que não existem” the 31st  Bienal de São Paulo, which will involve not only individual and collective art and artists, but also architects, theater groups, choreographers and sociologists, focuses on those things that do not exist: how to talk about them, how to learn from them, how to live with them, how to fight them ...

 

The curatorial team composed by Charles Esche, Galit Eilat, Nuria Enguita Mayo, Pablo Lafuente and Oren Sagiv, with Benjamin Seroussi and Luiza Proenca as associate curators, wanted to pay special attention to the relationship between artistic practices and their ability to engage and activate stories, both individual and collectives. This will be a special edition: it will be held in its traditional space Cicilio Matarazzo Pavilion for the first time after the death of its creator, the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer.

The 31st edition of the Bienal de São Paulo (Brazil), which opens on September 6, has confirmed the presence of two Basque artists among its participants: Asier Mendizabal (Ordizia, 1973) and Juan Pérez Agirregoikoa (Donostia-San Sebastián, 1963). In addition, the Etxepare Basque Institute has signed a collaboration agreement with the Bienal to support the presence of Basque artists and dissemination of Basque culture in this important event.

Guided by the motto “Como falar de coisas que não existem” the 31st  Bienal de São Paulo, which will involve not only individual and collective art and artists, but also architects, theater groups, choreographers and sociologists, focuses on those things that do not exist: how to talk about them, how to learn from them, how to live with them, how to fight them ...

The curatorial team composed by Charles Esche, Galit Eilat, Nuria Enguita Mayo, Pablo Lafuente and Oren Sagiv, with Benjamin Seroussi and Luiza Proenca as associate curators, wanted to pay special attention to the relationship between artistic practices and their ability to engage and activate stories, both individual and collectives. This will be a special edition: it will be held in its traditional space Cicilio Matarazzo Pavilion for the first time after the death of its creator, the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer.

Continuing recent sculptural works as Hard Edge, Hard Edge (2010) Asier Mendizabal has created for the 31st Biennale a work to remember, in the context of contemporary art, the sculpture project and ideas of the artist Jorge Oteiza (1908 - 2003), whose performance in South America between 1930 and 1960 was of great significance but has been poorly studied.

Mendizabal´s contribution consists of a number of sculptures installed in various places in the pavilion of the Bienal, all based on the monument to the Peruvian poet César Vallejo created by Oteiza in 1960 in Lima. These sculptures are ´finished´ or ´incomplete ´ versions of a sculptural form, all abstract compositions, such as the original monument. Upon contact with other works and other exhibition spaces, these abstract forms are able to acquire meanings and functions that may seem, at first, alien to their composition. What makes Mendizabal is thus explore, and update, a central problem for Oteiza´s work as for his own creations: the irresolvable contradiction between the formal language of abstraction with its implications of transcendence and the claim to assign that language specific meanings.

In The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini in 1964 based on the Bible, certain scenes present in the written work were not included in the film work. These passages, as, for example, the parable that rewards the investor and punishes the one who fails in a business activity, represent, according to Juan Perez Agirregoikoa, one of the discursive foundations of Western capitalism. In response, his work for the Bienal is a film based on The Gospel According to Saint Matthew and filmed on the outskirts of São Paulo. The script was rewritten specifically focusing on these verses, trying to establish possible connections between modes of production and a belief system, historically and today.

In recent years, following abandonment of abstraction, Agirregoikoa has worked in the subversion of discourses relating to power and obedience. In this new film the artist challenges the world view imposed by a religion that too often seems to undermine rather than enhance individual and collective possibilities.

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