This year, the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas goes in depth on the global South, featuring an exhibition of guest artists whose focal point is the Africa-Caribbean-South America triangulation.
Abdoulaye Konaté (Mali), Gabriel Abrantes (Portugal), Kcho (Cuba), Rodrigo Matheus (Brazil), Sonia Gomes (Brazil) and Yto Barrada (Morocco/France) are the artists invited by the committee composed of curators Bernardo 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.
Abdoulaye Konaté, one of the most revered contemporary artists in Africa, was the first artist invited for the 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 artist was featured in a comprehensive retrospective show recently at Blain|Southern, Berlin, curated by Koyo Kouoh.
For over four decades now, Brazil’s Sonia Gomes has developed her art, even though she only achieved public recognition after featuring in the main show of the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). In her work, Sonia Gomes creates complex three-dimensional structures with twisted up fabrics, embroidery and juxtapositions, giving rise to a private cosmos connected with family memory, racial identity and social history, all the while discussing the possibilities of sculpture. For the Festival, pieces from series like Torções and Patuás will be brought together, producing a previously unseen large-scale artwork.
The French-Moroccan Yto Barrada, founder and president of Cinémathèque de Tanger and recent winner of the The Abraaj Group Art Prize, will show her Wallpaper – Tangier at this edition of the Festival. The piece 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 metalanguage 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.
One of Cuba’s leading contemporary artists, Kcho looks into issues relating to displacement, migration, and insularity via installations, sculptures and drawings that incorporate aspects of Cuban iconography and everyday life. Kcho’s work at once reflects on his own biography and on the history of Cuba. For the Festival, the artist proposes a development of El David, a monumental installation shown in his solo exhibit at the Gran Teatro de La Habana (2012). Recently, Kcho has made his internet connection available to the Cuban people, creating his country’s first free internet point.
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. 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. 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. His work is featured in collections such as those of the Inhotim Institute and the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art.
Find out more about the 19th Festival.
Tuesday, October 6, 8–10pm
Sesc Pompeia | Galpão & Área de Convivência
Southern Panoramas | Guest Artists
Southern Panoramas | Selected Artworks
Wednesday, October 7, 6–10pm
Sesc Pompeia | Teatro
Opening of 19th Festival Film Program
Thursday, October 8, 7–10pm
Southern Panoramas | Commissioned Projects
Friday, October 9, 7pm
Paço das Artes
Parallel exhibition opening:
Quem nasce pra aventura não toma outro rumo
(Those born for adventure don’t stray from the path)
19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil
Opening: October 5, 7pm
Rua Clélia, 93, Sao Paulo