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19th Sesc_Videobrasil - Guest Artists

Internationally recognized and with artistic researches into issues of the South, Abdoulaye Konaté, Gabriel Abrantes, Rodrigo Matheus, Sonia Gomes and Yto Barrada are the guests for the Festival set to run from October to December 2015 in São Paulo.

In past editions, major solo shows by artists like Olafur Eliasson and Peter Greenaway were held parallel to the exhibition of artists selected via the open call for the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, encouraging a dialogue between art productions from the global South and North. This year, the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas goes in-depth on the global South.

Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali), Gabriel Abrantes (Portugal), Rodrigo Matheus (Brazil), Sonia Gomes (Brazil) and Yto Barrada (Morocco/France) are the artists invited by the committee composed of curators Bernardo José de Souza (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil), Bitu Cassundé (Ceará, Brazil), João Laia (Lisbon, Portugal) and Júlia Rebouças (Sergipe, Brazil), working in collaboration with Solange Farkas, the Festival’s chief curator. The selected artworks attest to the potency of art production from this geopolitical area and reflect the radicalization of this edition’s proposal, which transformed the South and its myriad issues into the core of the curatorial axes. The 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas will run from October 6 to December 6, 2015, at different venues throughout the city of São Paulo, Brazil. The six artists have been invited for their backgrounds and their landmark research work into the global South — and in keeping with the curatorial guidelines in place for this edition.

Abdoulaye Konaté, one of the most revered contemporary artists from Africa, was the first artist invited for the 19th Festival, opening the curatorial research work for this edition. Abdoulaye will present a brand new piece commissioned especially for this edition of the Festival: a large panel built with fabric, using a technique he has developed since the ‘90s, which updates this fundamental form of African expression. His striking commentaries on globally relevant political and environmental issues, coupled with the artisanal, aesthetical traditions of Mali, have made his work central to the Festival and to the choice of other guest artists. The nefarious effects of globalization, human rights violations, genocide, the impact of AIDS, deforestation, dictatorship and wars, religious extremism, and African immigration are some of the issues he takes on in his work. The softness of weaving opposes the harshness of the subject matters Abdoulaye works with, rendering his critique all the more powerful. Konaté has participated in the Documenta 12 (2007), in biennials in Africa, including Dak’Art and the Johannesburg Biennale, and exhibited in museums like Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), Moderna Museet (Stockholm, Sweden) and the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, Holland), and his work is part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, USA) and the Musée National du Mali (Bamako, Mali), among others. He was recently featured in a comprehensive retrospective show at Berlin’s Blain|Southern, curated by Koyo Kouoh, the art director for Raw Material (Senegal) and a member of the Award Jury for the 18th Festival (2013).

Resonating with African culture and featuring fabric as its primary material, the work of Sonia Gomes converses with Konaté’s production. At age 67, the Brazilian artist has developed her art for over four decades, although she only achieved public renown recently, as attested by her participation in the main show of the 56th Venice Biennale. In her work, Sonia Gomes creates complex three-dimensional structures with twisted up fabrics, embroidery and juxtapositions. They, however, are not new or recently acquired materials, but ones impregnated with the past, which the artist either found or received. The artist was born in the city of Caetanópolis, a major textile hub in Minas Gerais, and her work translates the popular influence of her maternal grandmother, a midwife and spiritual healer, and the scholarly influence of her paternal family, from whom she got her formal education. Sonia Gomes builds a private cosmos connected with family memory, racial identity and social history, all the while discussing the possibilities of sculpture. Pieces from series like Torções and Patuás will be brought together for the Festival, producing a previously unseen large-scale artwork.


Transit in the works of Yto Barrada
In her inquiries, guest artist Yto Barrada (Morocco/France) sets out to understand migration flows.

The oeuvre of the French-Moroccan Yto Barrada, who recently won the The Abraaj Group Art Prize, takes on the complex Africa-Europe relationship. Wallpaper -Tangier, to be featured in the 19th Festival, is a blown-up reproduction of wallpaper from an Alpine landscape the artist photographed from inside a cafeteria in Tangier. Besides being a clear exercise in meta-language and a discussion on the nature of image, it is also a denunciation of how both sceneries (the original one and the café’s) lose their own identities and are instead seen from the prism of exoticness. The founder and president of Cinémathèque de Tanger (devoted to developing film culture in Morocco), Barrada contemplates the political, physical and psychological barriers that shape the lives of Moroccans, and inquires: what is the condition of a place whose people want to leave? As the government of Morocco strives to lure tourists in, thousands of Moroccans make the illegal and perilous crossing to Europe via the Strait of de Gibraltar, to which Tangiers has access.

Detours of the gaze
Gabriel Abrantes (Portugal) questions the notions of territory and globalization through film language, whereas Rodrigo Matheus (Brazil) appropriates industrial or organic day-to-day objects, creating defamiliarization, new meanings and new possibilities of representation.

In his work, Portugal’s Gabriel Abrantes subverts and problematizes Hollywood conventions as he transposes them into the reality of territories where, according to the artist, “the future is being outlined”. Hailed as a promising new Portuguese talent by Fundação EDP in 2009, Abrantes discusses the effects of colonialism, globalization and cultural and sexual identities in films shot in countries such as Angola, Brazil, Sri Lanka and Haiti. The artist will participate in the 19th Festival with Liberdade (2011), a short film made in Luanda that builds a metaphor about the country through the massive numbers of immigrants coming from China, incarnated by a sexually impotent young man in a relationship with a beautiful Chinese woman. Liberdade won prizes at the Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland) and at IndieLisboa (Portugal), both in 2011. A video program featuring works by Abrantes is also part of the Festival's schedule.

Finally, Brazil’s Rodrigo Matheus participates in the Festival with site-specific works distributed across the exhibition space, suggesting bridges with the artworks by other guest artists, acting as a sort of amalgam of the exhibit. Appropriating industrial artifacts or organic materials found in urban centers and in nature, Rodrigo Matheus creates sculptural bodies that deal with the hybrid culture-nature connections. In operating juxtapositions or putting these elements against each other, the artist breaks the logic of mass production and explores new possibilities of representing the very notion of functionality, creating defamiliarization and giving new meanings to technologies viewers were familiar with before. His work is featured in collections such as those of the Instituto Inhotim and the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo.


(From press information)

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

Produced by:
SESC São Paulo & Associação Cultural Videobrasil


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