Brazil

“Her Eminence the Influence”

In 1995 the Ministry of Culture of Brazil made the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo responsible for the Brazilian pavilion for the Venice Biennial. The Venezuelan Luis Pérez-Oramas, chief curator for the São Paulo Biennial of 2012, was appointed by the Fundação Bienal and chose to exhibit five different artists for the 2013 Brazilian representation at the Giardini. Pérez-Oramas used to be the curator of the Patricia Phelps Cisneros collection from 1995 to 2005 and has been working as Estrellita Brodsky, the curator of Latin American Art at MoMA-NY, since 2006. Both Cisneros and Brodsky come from Venezuelan US-based families that financially support art institutions such as the Tate and the Centre Pompidou, as well as several universities for programs related to Latin American Art.

Though it is not the first time that the Brazilian modernist pavilion hosts non-Brazilian artists, it is the first time that non-living artists are included to compose Brazil’s national representation in Venice. Brazilian artist Lygia Clark, who died in 1988 and also participated in the pavilion in 1954, 1962, and 1968, is the only female artist in the 2013 show. Her production has become the canon of Brazilian experimentalism during the 60s and 70s and her presence could be seen as a politically correct move to counterbalance the composition of the group show. The choice of Swiss artist Max Bill should be given an accurate attention. His participation in the first edition of the São Paulo Biennial in 1951, where he was granted the first prize for international sculpture, has been constantly used by official historiography to build a predominantly Eurocentric and linear narrative in a cause and effect logic trapping Brazilian art in an ever dependent colonized position. Rather than formulating a complex multi directional and layered panorama of long-term cultural exchange that could contribute to challenge hegemonic and dominant narratives, the structure within the show reinforces prejudicial ideas such as origin, influence, and historical debt.

Is it not the case that in this ratio almost any contemporary Brazilian artist could perfectly fit the sequence that starts with Munari, Bill, and Lygia Clark: concrete, neoconcrete, and contemporary? And to what extent is Pérez-Oramas’s attempt at a national representation of Brazil not at the same time an erasure of Brazil’s possible construction of provisional identities for the sake of a static and instrumentalized global, modern image?

Amilcar Packer

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Pavilion

Organizer/Commissioner:
Fundação Bienal de São Paulo (private institution)
Artist:
Shary Boyle
Artists:
Hélio Fervenza; Max Bill; Lygia Clark; Odires Mlászho; Bruno Munari
Curator:
Luis Pérez-Oramas
Budget provided by the state:
R$ 500,000 (€ 188,755)
Open Call?
No
Selection procedure:
As agreement between the Fundação Bienal and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the curator of the São Paulo biennial appoints the curator of the Brazilian representation at the Venice Biennale. The Fundação Bienal also acts as main organizing institution.

Curator

Name:
Luis Pérez-Oramas
Gender:
Male
Born:
Venezuela, 1960
Lives and works in:
The United States of America
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Bruno Munari
Gender:
Male
Born:
Italy, 1907
Deceased:
1998
Lived and worked in:
Italy
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
7

Artist

Name:
Odires Mlászho
Gender:
Male
Born:
Brazil, 1960
Lives and works in:
Brazil
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1
Represented by galleries in:
São Paulo

Artist

Name:
Lygia Clark
Gender:
Female
Born:
Brazil, 1920
Deceased:
1988
Lived and worked in:
Brazil
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
4

Artist

Name:
Max Bill
Gender:
Male
Born:
Switzerland, 1908
Deceased:
1994
Lived and worked in:
Switzerland
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1

Artist

Name:
Hélio Fervenza
Gender:
Male
Born:
Brazil, 1963
Lives and works in:
Brazil
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
1
Represented by galleries in:
Not represented by a gallery

Politics & Economics

State System:
Federal presidential constitutional republic
Ruling Political Party:
Centre-left Worker's Party
Population (World Bank, 2011):
196,655,014
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
$12,594
World Bank credit:
$9,150,000,000
Net OECD ODA Aid Received (2011):
$689,960,000
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):
$33,143,000,000

Alliances


G20
World Bank debt
International Criminal Court recognized
Non-Aligned Movement
WTO

Conflicts

Country independent since:
1822 (from Portugal)
Last Major Border Revision:
1903 (Treaty of Petrópolis over the Acre State)
Colonial History:
Former Portuguese colony
International Court of Justice cases:
1
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
78
Nuclear Force?
No
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
Non-state conflicts between armed criminal gangs. Large-scale warlike government action against criminal gangs. Human Rights Watch expresses concern over torture in Brazil's overcrowded detention centers and police stations. Land disputes with indigenous groups, e.g. over the build of the Belo Monte hydro-electric dam.
Participation in Multinational Missons:
UN peacekeeping missions in Congo, Cyprus, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Liberia, Sudan and Western Sahara.