Pivô presents the seminar “Art beyond the horizon: Rethinking the meridian of politics and aesthetics” – organized by the anthropologist Alex Flynn- in its programme Pivô Welcomes, which hosts previously formatted projects by artists, curators or cultural producers according to conceptual affinities with the institution’s programme.
The seminar proposes a critical reflection on the intersections of artistic, aesthetic and political practice to rethink notions relevant to future directions of contemporary art, that in recent years has been subject to a series of theoretical and practical incursions that call into question its models and the structures that sustain them, the hegemony of a geographically located canon of works and the porous nature of art’s autonomy itself.
In both institutional and extra institutional spaces, there has been a proliferation of artistic and curatorial projects that propose public space as a sphere of activity. Accompanying this shift in focus that gestures towards dimensions of sociality, works that directly challenge the contemporary art systems of hegemonic countries have gained greater visibility, proposing unexpected pathways to engage with traditional architectures and putting forward artistic practice as a means of knowledge production. In parallel, theoretical propositions have emerged putting forward artistic practices as ‘ways of doing’ which intervene in the general order of daily life while also identifying the relation between art’s insertion in society and its desire for autonomy.
Importantly, these recent directions are situated simultaneously on the inside and the outside of existing paradigms, but even if originating from an exterior position, they still seek to act upon that interior position as a whole. Such transit means that these issues play out in a liminal and contested field, so how might we understand the relationship between artistic practice and activist intervention? Do such practices foster new modes of critical and creative thinking in their interaction with dimensions of sociality? How might the reconfiguration of Eurocentric canons be proposed as a result, if that is at all possible? Is it the case that we can make such a division between dependence and autonomy, art and society? And to where do these new directions point?
“Art beyond the horizon” aims to reflect on these issues, encompassing interstitial perspectives – many deriving from spaces of the Global South – through a series of dialogues between artists, curators and academics who seeks to rethink the future of contemporary art practices.
1pm – Introduction: Julian Fuchs (Goethe Institut), Alex Ungprateeb Flynn (Durham University)
1:30pm – First table: Jonas Tinius (Anthropologist, Humboldt University, Berlin) e Wura Ogunji (Artist/Curator). Discussant: Laymert Garcia Dos Santos (State University of Campinas)
3:30pm – Coffee
4pm – Second table: Fernando Palma Rodríguez (Artist) e Catalina Lozano (Curator, Museu Jumex). Discussant: Pedro Cesarino (University of São Paulo)
6pm – Close
1pm – First table: Luiza Crosman (Artist) e Bruno de Almeida (Curator). Discussant: Isabella Rjeille (Curator, Museu de Arte de São Paulo)
3pm – Coffee
3:30pm – Second table: Juliana Caffé, Yudi Rafael e Alex Ungprateeb Flynn (Curators of the Cambridge Artistic Residency) e André Mesquita (Museu de Arte de São Paulo). Discussant: Virginia de Medeiros (Artist)
5:30pm – Keynote talk: Simon Njami (Curator)
6:30 – Reception
7pm – Close
Alex Ungprateeb Flynn works on aesthetics, politics and subjectivity and has conducted ethnographic research on these issues in Brazil since 2007. Working with social movements as well as with actors from within contemporary art, his research explores how activist intervention and artistic practice can be understood as relational and transformational processes, prompting the theorisation of fields such as the production of knowledge, the configuration of the ‘Global South’, and the unmaking of utopian horizons. His curatorial practice has encompassed working within the Cambridge Artistic Residency in São Paulo and in 2018-9 he will curate two exhibitions in São Paulo and London on the phenomenon of ‘editoras cartoneras’. Alex is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Durham University, UK and is the co-convenor (with Jonas Tinius) of the Anthropologies of Art [A/A] network.
André Mesquita is based in São Paulo and conducts research on the articulations between art, politics, and activism. He is the author of the following books: Insurgências poéticas: arte ativista e ação coletiva (Annablume/Fapesp, 2011), Esperar não é saber: arte entre o silêncio e a evidência (2015) – realized with funding from Bolsa Funarte de Estímulo à Produção em Artes Visuais 2014, and co-author of Desinventario: esquirlas de Tucumán Arde en el archivo de Graciela Carnevale (Ocho Libros, 2015). In 2014, Mesquita was the resident researcher at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Spain. As a member of the Red Conceptualismos del Sur (Southern Conceptualisms Network), he was one the curators of Perder la forma humana: una imagen sísmica de los años ochenta en América Latina (Museo Reina Sofía, 2012) and contributor to the accompanying exhibition publication. Currently, Mesquita investigates the theme of secrecy and its relationships with contemporary societies and artistic practices. Currently, he works in Public Programs at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP).
Bruno de Almeida is a curator and architect, currently a member of De Appel’s Curatorial Programme 2018/19, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is the founder and curator of the research/exhibition platforms ‘SITU’ (2015-2017) and ‘1:1’ (2018-ongoing), in São Paulo, Brazil. Bruno holds a Master’s in Architecture from the Accademia di Architettura, Mendrisio, Switzerland, and a Bachelor from the Faculty of Architecture of Oporto, Portugal. He has developed projects with institutions such as: Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, USA; Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, USA; 11th São Paulo Architecture Biennial, Brazil; Pivô Art and Research, São Paulo, Brazil, among others. He has also participated in residencies such as: TATE Intensive, TATE Modern, London, UK (2018); IdeasCity, New Museum in collaboration with LUMA Foundation, Arles, France (2017); Curatorial Intensive Accra, Independent Curators International, Accra, Ghana (2017), among others.
Catalina Lozano is currently Associate Curator at Museo Jumex in Mexico City and an independent researcher. Her research interests and curatorial practice are focused on marginal historical narratives that question hegemonic forms of knowledge. Analyzing colonial narratives and deconstructing the modern divide between nature and culture have acted as departure points for many of her curatorial and editorial projects such as C’est qui ne sert pas s’oublie (CAPC Bordeaux, 2015) and A Machine Desires Instruction as a Garden Desires Discipline (MARCO Vigo, FRAC Lorraine, and Alhóndiga Bilbao, 2013-14) and the book Crawling Doubles: Colonial Collecting and Affects (B42, Paris), co-edited with Mathieu K. Abonnenc and Lotte Arndt.
Fernando Palma Rodríguez combines his training as an artist and mechanical engineer to create robotic sculptures that utilize custom software to perform complex, narrative choreographies. His works respond to issues facing indigenous communities in Mexico, addressing human and land rights, violence, and urgent environmental crises. He lives in the agricultural region of Milpa Alta outside Mexico City, where he runs Calpulli Tecalco, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Nahua language and culture. Fernando’s work has been exhibited around the world including at MoMA PS1 and at the Frac Pays de la Loire.
Isabella Rjeille is Assistant Curator at Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) and co-editor of “Nossa Voz” journal at Casa do Povo, São Paulo. She has curated exhibitions such as “Tunga: The Body in Works” (2017-18, MASP), “Tracey Moffatt: Montages” (2017, video room, MASP), “TOTEMONUMENTO” (2016, Galeria Leme), “O que caminha ao lado” (2015, SESC Vila Mariana, São Paulo). She was Assistant Curator on the exhibition “Artevida”, curated by Adriano Pedrosa and Rodrigo Moura held at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Casa França Brasil and Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro (2015); and curatorial assistant at the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo – “Live Uncertainty” (2016) and co-editor of its anthology of texts, “Dias de Estudo” [Study Days] with Jochen Volz. She is currently researching the intersections between art and activism within a feminist perspective in contemporary art.
Jonas Tinius is an anthropologist of art and postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), Institute of European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His current research project explores how Berlin-based art institutions engage with notions of otherness and alterity through critical curatorial strategies. He is convenor of the Anthropology and the Arts Network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (with Prof. Roger Sansi, Barcelona).
Juliana Caffé is an independent curator, editor and researcher on contemporary art. Among her curatorial works are: the Cambridge Artistic Residence, a project which puts forward artistic and cultural proposals in the Ocupação Hotel Cambridge, an occupied building in downtown São Paulo. This project was the recipient of the 2016 APCA – Paulista Association of Art Critics of São Paulo award for ‘urban appropriation’; the Seminar: Thinking about Latin America | Political and Cultural Panorama (Videobrasil, São Paulo, 2017); the exhibition How to Remain Silent? (A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town, 2017); Fracture Zone (ISEA2018, Durban, 2018); and the project Conversations in Gondwana, a platform of research, experimentation and studies in contemporary art between Africa and South America. Recently, she received the Temporada de Projetos 2018 prize to hold the exhibition From Silence to Memory at Paço das Artes (São Paulo, Brazil).
Laymert Garcia dos Santos, Professor at UNICAMP, was the Director of São Paulo’s Biennial Foundation (2009-2010). He is active primarily in the following disciplines: biotechnology, technology and contemporary art. He currently coordinates the Laboratory of Culture and Network Technology.
Luiza Crosman is an artist, writer and researcher on institutional dynamics and speculative strategies. Her work often involves positive feedback loops, using recursive systems referring back to a given original event. This manifested across drawings, text, installation and workshops and in the interest of visualizing how things are in movement, and so constantly producing new possibilities of future. Crosman is currently focused on the visual concepts surrounding speculation about spaces, collectivity and mega-structures. Recently Crosman has participated in exhibitions and developed projects with Josza Gallery, Iselp, Greylight Projects, Constant, (Brussels 2018, 2017, 2016), KW (Berlin, 2017), CAC (Vilnius, 2017), and CCSP (São Paulo, 2017). Current and upcoming projects include “TRAMA” at 33 São Paulo Biennial, São Paulo (2018), “Drawing Blue-prints for potential art spaces” at HKB University, Bern (2018) and “BLOCC – Building Leverage Over Creative Capitalism” at SommerAkademie Paul Klee, Bern (2019).
Pedro Cesarino is currently Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of São Paulo (USP), his research focuses on the Anthropology of Expressive Forms and Indigenous Ethnology. He is currently working on studies on shamanism, cosmology, oral traditions, translation and anthropology of art.
Simon Njami is an independent curator, lecturer, art critic, and writer. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of “Revue Noire.” Previously, Njami was the artistic director of the Bamako Photography Biennial 2000-2010, and co-curator of the first African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. He has curated a number of contemporary art and photography exhibitions, including Africa Remix (2004-2007) and the first African art fair in Johannesburg in 2008. In 2014, The Divine Comedy exhibition, created and curated by him, started a world tour at the MMK (Museum für Moderne Kunst) in Frankfurt, moving on to the SCAD Museum of Art in Savannah and the Smithsonian Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. He is the director of the Pan African Master Classes in Photography, a project created in partnership with the Goethe Institute; artistic director of the Donwahi Foundation (Abidjan, Ivory Coast); adviser to the Sindika Dokolo Collection (Luanda, Angola); secretary of the special jury of the World Press Photography Awards; artistic director of the first edition of Off Biennale (Cairo, 2015) and the 2016 and 2018 Dak’Art Biennale (Dakar, Senegal), the first and most important artistic event in Africa.
Virginia de Medeiros is a visual artist who works with documentary images for subjective and conceptual ends, thereby putting forward a revision of the modes of reading of otherness. In 2015, she was the recipient of the PIPA Jury Prize, the PIPA Popular Vote and also the 5th Edition of Marcantonio Vilaça prize. She has participated in exhibitions such as the 27th Bienal of São Paulo (Pavilhão da Bienal, 2006); 31st Biennial of São Paulo, São Paulo (Pavilhão da Bienal, 2014); The Infidel replica (Centro de Arte 2 de Mayo, Madrid, 2016). In 2016 she participated as one of the five selected artists for the Cambridge Artistic Residency.
Wura-Natasha Ogunji is a visual artist and performer. Her works include drawings, videos and public performances. Her work is deeply inspired by the daily interactions and frequencies that occur in the city of Lagos, Nigeria, from the epic to the intimate. Ogunji’s performances explore the presence of women in public space; these often include investigations of labor, leisure, freedom and frivolity. She is an Artist-Curator for 33rd São Paulo Bienal and most recently performed at Cape Town Art Fair. Selected exhibitions include: Lagos Biennial; Kochi-Muziris Biennale; 1:54, London & New York; Seattle Art Museum; Brooklyn Art Museum; and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark. Ogunji is a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and has received grants from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Dallas Museum of Art; and the Idea Fund. She has a BA from Stanford University [1992, Anthropology] and an MFA from San Jose State University [1998, Photography]. She currently resides in Lagos where she is founder and curator of the experimental art space The Treehouse.
Yudi Rafael is an independent curator, researcher and artist. He has curated several exhibitions in São Paulo, and was recently a co-curator of Residência Artística Cambridge (2016-17), at Ocupação Hotel Cambridge, and assistant curator of the 2nd edition of Frestas: Ar Triennial, Between Post-Truths and Events (2017), at Sesc Sorocaba. He is currently a PhD student in Latin American and Iberian Cultures at Columbia University.