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IMPERMANENCE. The mutation of art in a materialistic society is the title and theme proposed for this edition by the American curator Dan Cameron. The exhibition gathers the work of 47 artists from 27 countries displayed in 20 venues that connect the city, especially its historic perimeter. Thus, visit the exhibition is a great opportunity to tour the wonderful city that is Cuenca, a city whose architecture inspired various projects presented in the public space.
Since its first edition in 1987, Bienal de Cuenca was developed as an exhibit platform in which the artworks were under the judgment of a jury who highlighted three pieces that later won an acquisition award. In this occasion, the event changed its format and the awards had an honorific nature and a name that was taken from key elements of the collective memory of the three regions of Ecuador.
The jury conformed by the French biographer and curator Bernard Marcadé; the Brazilian historian and curator Gaudêncio Fidelis, and the Cuban professor and theorist Lupe Álvarez granted the Award “Julián Matadero” to the Peruvian artist José Carlos Martinat for Oratoria; the Award “El Guaraguao” to the Ecuadorian Oswaldo Terreros for Gran encuentro capítulo 6. Sede social para el libre esparcimiento –both are site-specific installations–, and the Award “Piedra de Sal” to the Chinese artist Cao Fei for her film Haze and Fog. The jury also granted Honorable Mentions to: Listados by Ignasi Aballí (Spain), The Messenger by Óscar Santillán (Ecuador), Muthoscapes by Asli Cavusoglu (Turkey), and Estrategias para encontrar el color de la democracia by Juan Carlos León (Ecuador).
The organizers group the venues in two routes: on one hand “Circuito Centro Histórico” include some patrimonial buildings such as Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno, Museo de la Ciudad, Salón del Pueblo, Catedral Vieja, or Museo de las Conceptas; on the other, “Circuito Río Tomebamba” highlighted public spaces and other architectural milestones of the city like Parque de la Madre, Museo de la Medicina, Colegio Nacional Benigno Malo, and Museo Pumapungo.
In Dan Cameron’s words: “Thanks to the unique status of Cuenca as a repository of significant architecture from the early colonial and republican period, touring the city and visiting as many venues as possible, was undoubtedly one of the most revealing and inspiring moments of the process. As I visited the places, countless possibilities for connecting works of contemporary art with this heritage emerged. It became clear that Cuenca was an ideal city for the kind of interconnections between art and history that the best biennials in the world seem to adopt.”