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Artists selected for the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil

Associação Cultural Videobrasil and Sesc São Paulo announced the list of artists participating in the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil: Southern Panoramas selected through two open calls: call for artworks and call for art projects to be commissioned and presented at the Festival. In all, 57 artists and groups from 25 countries have been selected by the Curatorial Committee to be featured in the exhibitions set to take place at Sesc Pompeia and other venues in the city of São Paulo, from October to December, 2015. Of these, 39 artists are being featured in the Festival for the first time.

The committee in charge of selecting artworks and projects comprises the curators Bernardo de Souza (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), Bitu Cassundé (Ceará, Brazil), João Laia (Lisbon, Portugal) and Júlia Rebouças (Sergipe, Brazil) working under the guidance of the Festival’s general curator Solange Farkas. Farkas believes the selection work has been an invaluable opportunity to confront art production from the global South, whose outlines change constantly as a result of deep socioeconomic and cultural transformations. "Despite significant geopolitical modifications that constantly rearrange the notions of North and South, the need remains to work for an art and culture field in regions that must invent new forms of circulation and visibility," says Farkas, the founder and director of Associação Cultural Videobrasil.

The Festival’s growing relevance within the global art circuit and its recognition as one of the leading platforms for spreading and fostering art productions from the global South are made evident in both the number of entries and of registered countries. The 19th Festival has received 3,166 entries (up 62% from the 1,956 entries for the previous edition) by artists from 118 countries (up 46% from the 81 countries in the 18th Festival).

Ultimately, artists have been selected from Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Mali, and South Africa. The selection also comprises artists from Middle East countries (Lebanon and Israel), Asia (China, India, Thailand and Taiwan), Europe (Greece, Lithuania, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Poland), and Oceania (Australia).

This year, the Festival is taking its proposal to the extreme by making Southern Panoramas the core of its entire program, instead of simply its competitive show. The South and its myriad issues – related to diasporas, hybrid identities, migration flows and travels, first-person accounts, memories, isolation, social fabric and insularity – have inspired and guided the Curatorial Committee in selecting artworks and projects, as well as underpinned the curatorial axes of all of the Festival’s exhibitions, public programs, and publications.

The 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil: Southern Panoramas will feature exhibitions in several venues throughout the city: one featuring works by guest artists – whose inquiries revolve around the Africa-Caribbean-South America triangulation – and a parallel show conceived from the Videobrasil Collection, in the light of the reality of this edition, to indirectly expand upon the reflections featured in the Festival artworks. Just like in previous years, the 19th Festival will feature a lengthy program of meetings with curators, artists and researchers, book launches and educational actions.


Different concepts, supports and generations underscore the diversity of the selection

The Curatorial Committee has spotted commonalities between the selected artworks. The curator of the Contemporary Art Museum of Ceará, Bitu Cassundé (Várzea Alegre/Ceará, Brazil), remarks that "a few issues appear recurrently throughout this diversity of countries, such as a predominant political axis. Other works explore the social fabric, touching on issues such as geographic displacement, diaspora, traffic and belonging." According to Bitu, who is also the coordinator of the Visual Arts Laboratory at Fortaleza’s Porto Iracema das Artes, other productions tackle the fictional gesture and even hint at science fiction. Yet another key feature of certain pieces is the discrepancy in scale between the human and the non-human, at times giving rise to a near-mystical relationship in the face of nature or of large power systems.

Open to all art languages and supports since its 17th edition (2011), the Festival remains watchful of the multiplicity of contemporary expressions, prioritizing the conceptual and aesthetical quality of the artworks. In addition to a large number of videos and video installations, the 19th Festival will feature photographs, prints, sound art pieces, sculptures and mixed-technique installations. To the writer and independent curator João Laia (Lisbon, Portugal), who is in charge of the image-in-motion section of the IndieLisboa Festival, a surprise of this edition was the persistence of performance, whose history entwines with those of video art and the Festival itself – which, by the way, devoted its 2005 edition entirely to this form of expression. "Forty, fifty years later, performance continues to play a major, central role within contemporary visual arts and the very language of video. Our selection makes this point clear," says Laia, the co-founder of The Green Parrot, in Barcelona.

The fact that established artists are being featured alongside up-and-coming ones was mentioned by independent curator and university professor Bernardo de Souza (Pelotas/Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) – the shortlist age bracket ranges from 25 to 77. "This diversity of research, backgrounds, nature of artworks, and art practices affords us a perception of art production at different points in time. These are very distinct views, coming together to render the exhibition all the more interesting, and to provide us with a dimension of the contemporary art construction process," says de Souza, a member of the board of curators for the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rio Grande do Sul. He also believes the Festival has the added role of publicizing artists whose works aren’t shown in traditional art venues around the world. "Big museums and galleries, these contemporary art temples, ultimately reinforce certain narratives, certain discourses, certain names. An open call-based festival makes new connections under the aegis of democracy, and this is extremely interesting," he says. Out of the 57 artists in the shortlist (53 for artworks and four for projects), only 18 had been featured in past Festival editions. The addition of new names attests to the Festival’s ongoing dedication to experimentation and to mapping out contemporary art production.


Artists from Colombia, Brazil, Kenya and Taiwan to work on projects commissioned by the 19th Festival

For the first time ever and building on the experimental, innovation-oriented profile it has sustained for 32 years, the Festival has broadened the scope of its actions for fostering art production by accepting entries of previously unseen artwork production projects. Júlia Rebouças (Aracaju/Sergipe, Brazil), the curator of Inhotim Institute since 2007, believes "contemporary production is based on research, on experimentation. The Festival regularly recognizes these issues in the artworks it selects, but in this edition it takes a step further by encouraging and stimulating research and experimentation-based production through the selection of projects."

After looking at 446 entries received via the art projects call for entries, the Curatorial Committee selected the artists Carlos Monroy (Colombia/Brazil), Cristiano Lenhardt (Brazil), Keli-Safia Maksud (Kenya) and Ting-Ting Cheng (Taiwan). The Curatorial Committee will oversee the production of these works and this will effectively extend the involvement of the curators with the Festival beyond the selection, as well as promote a direct, continuous dialogue with the artists.

Carlos Monroy will work on "Llorando se foi" O Museu da Lambada. In memoriam de Francisco "Chico" Oliveira, a cross-referencing of two phenomena from 1980s Brazil: the lambada craze and its incidence upon the construction of national identity, and the advent and upsurge of Bolivian immigration to São Paulo. Superquadra-saci, a film by Cristiano Lenhardt, combines native Brazilian roots and the "city-landscape," the urban setting, with throwbacks to national modernism. Mitumba, by Keli-Safia Maksud, looks into the connection between the history of soap in Victorian-era England and African fabrics in the Netherlands. The artist discusses the image of racial hygiene that was marketed in soap adverts and takes on African identity through the textiles known globally as an authentic expression of Africa, even though they are made in the Netherlands since 1846. Finally, the 19th Festival will feature Ting-Ting Cheng’s project The Atlas of places that do not exist. The piece is a library of roughly 720 books about places that don’t exist – politically, socially, geographically or philosophically –, an exploration of the notion of existence and visibility, a questioning of the boundaries between nations and the definitions of reality.


About the Festival

The Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, founded by Solange Farkas in 1983, has over the years become established as a diverse, multiple platform for spreading, fostering and reflecting about art production from the global South. The biennially-held Festival strives to identify, publicize and discuss emerging productions from this scene, encompassing all of the existing visual art languages and supports. The open call-based artist selection carried out by a Curatorial Committee constitutes itself as a key democratic strategy for the Festival, enabling the construction of a space dedicated to give visibility, debate and produce knowledge on the art made in these countries.

Numbers from the 19th Festival

The 19th Festival has received 3,166 entries over a two-month period (2,720 artwork entries and 446 project entries), up 62% from 1,956 entries in the previous edition. The Festival has also broadened its reach in a significant way, with a 46% increase in number of countries, from 81 in 2013 to 118 in 2015. Additionally, visits and mapping actions undertaken by its curatorship and higher investment in Festival communication actions have drawn more entries from artists from countries in South America, Africa and Central America – regions that make up the triangulation upon which the 19th Festival’s actions and discussions are based.

List of participating artists
19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil: Southern Panoramas

Selected from the Open Call for Art Projects

Carlos Monroy (Colombia/Brazil)
Cristiano Lenhardt (Brazil)
Keli-Safia Maksud (Kenya)
Ting-Ting Cheng (Taiwan/United Kingdom)

Selected from the Open Call for Artworks

Ali Cherri (Lebanon/France)
Aline X e Gustavo Jardim (Brazil)
Ana Vaz (Brazil/France)
Andres Bedoya (Bolivia)
Armando Queiroz (Brazil)
Beto Shwafaty (Brazil)
Bianca Baldi (South Africa/Germany)
Carlos Mélo (Brazil)
Chameckilerner (Brazil)
Chulayarnnon Siriphol (Thailand)
Clara Ianni (Brazil)
Daniel Frota (Brazil/Netherlands)
Daniel Jacoby (Peru/Netherlands)
Daniel Monroy Cuevas (Mexico)
Débora Bolsoni (Brazil)
Distruktur (Brazil/Germany)
Dor Guez (Israel)
Enrique Ramírez (Chile/France)
Fancy Violence (Brazil)
Felipe Bittencourt (Brazil)
Haroon Gunn-Salie (South Africa)
Hui Tao (China)
Iosu Aramburu (Peru)
João Castilho (Brazil)
Karolina Bregula (Poland)
Köken Ergun (Turkey)
Kush Badhwar (India)
Leticia Ramos (Brazil)
Louise Botkay (Brazil)
Luciana Magno (Brazil)
Maria Kramar (Russia)
Marinos Koutsomichalis, Maria Varela, Afroditi Psarra (Greece)
Maya Watanabe (Peru/Netherlands)
Michael MacGarry (South Africa)
Mihai Grecu (Romania/France)
Monica Rodriguez (Puerto Rico/USA)
Pablo Lobato (Brazil)
Paulo Nazareth (Brazil)
Paulo Nimer Pjota (Brazil)
Pilar Mata Dupont (Australia)
Rafael RG (Brazil)
Roberto Santaguida (Canada/Serbia)
Rodrigo Cass (Brazil)
Roy Dib (Lebanon)
Runo Lagomarsino (Sweden/Brazil)
Slinko (Ukraine/USA)
Solon Ribeiro (Brazil)
Tatiana Fuentes Sadowski (Peru/France)
Taus Makhacheva (Russia)
Tiécoura N'Daou (Mali)
Vera Chaves Barcellos (Brazil)
Viktorija Rybakova (Lithuania/Mexico)
Waléria Américo (Brazil)

(From press information. 3 June 2015)

19th Contemporary Art Festival
Sesc_Videobrasil: Southern Panoramas

6 October - 6 December 2015

São Paulo, Brazil

General curator:
Solange Farkas

Guest curators:
Bernardo José de Souza
Bitu Cassundé
João Laia
Júlia Rebouças

53 artists and groups | selected via
Artworks Call for Entries
4 artists | selected via
Art Projects Call for Entries
from 25 countries

Guest Artists:
Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali), Gabriel Abrantes (Portugal), Rodrigo Matheus (Brazil), Sonia Gomes (Brazil) and Yto Barrada (Morocco/France)

Produced by:
SESC São Paulo & Associação Cultural Videobrasil

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