The Bienal de São Paulo has announced that it will change its curatorial model for its thirty-third edition. Opening in September 2018, “Affective Affinities” will consist of seven separate exhibitions. Curator Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro proposed dividing the biennial in order to showcase the different ways “artists articulate and understand their communities.”
Seven artists were invited to serve on the biennial’s curatorial team: Alejandro Cesarco, Antonio Ballester, Claudia Fontes, Karin Mamma Andersson, Sofia Borges, Waltercio Caldas, and Wura-Natasha Ogunji. They will each curate an exhibition exploring themes such as the history of abstraction, the relationship between art and narrative, and the African diaspora.
“By engaging directly with the artist, this model privileges process and affinity in dialogue with a long tradition of artists acting as curators,” Pérez-Barreiro said in a statement. He will also organize several solo shows in addition to the seven exhibitions.
The title of the show“Affective Affinities” references Mário Pedrosa’s thesis “On the Affective Nature of Form in the Work of Art” (1949) as well as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s concept of the elective affinities. “I am inspired by Pedrosa’s commitment to the diversity of artistic languages, his conviction that art is an expression of freedom and experimentation, his faith in the artist, and the social and transformative role that art can play by expanding sensibility,” Pérez-Barreiro explained.