São Paulo Biennial 2023 curators learn about Basque art through the ZABAL programme

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.


Next year will mark the 35th edition of the São Paulo Biennial and the curators are now visiting the Basque Country within the scope of the ZABAL programme to learn about Basque art and artistic creation first-hand. From 25 to 29 August, the capitals of Alava, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa will host Manuel Borja-Villel, art historian and director of the Reina Sofia Museum; Diane Lima, independent curator, writer and researcher; and Hélio Menezes, anthropologist, critic and researcher.

They were welcomed at the Tabakalera building in Donostia by the Basque Minister for Culture and Language Policy, Bingen Zupiria; Director of the Etxepare Basque Institute, Irene Larraza; and Director of Cultural Promotion and Dissemination of the Etxepare Basque Institute, Imanol Otaegi.

This visit is an outcome of the ZABAL programme created by the Etxepare Basque Institute to promote international outreach for contemporary Basque creation through connections between Basque and the wider international art world. The project is being carried out with the technical assistance of Artingenium, an organization that works to develop local and international contemporary art projects.

On this occasion the curators are looking for performative and audiovisual artists. In charge of the visit is Isabel de Naverán, a researcher specialising in the intersection between art, choreography and performance. Since 2017 Naverán has worked as an arts curator in the Department of Public Activities at the Museo Reina Sofía. She also works as an associate researcher at Azkuna Zentroa in Bilbao (2021-22).

To a certain extent, the initiative harks back to the early days of the ZABAL programme, when in November 2019, São Paulo Biennial curator Ruth Estévez visited the Basque Country. Since then, several contemporary art professionals have been invited to liaise directly contact with local artists and explore possible partnerships.

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