The São Paulo Bienal which has been running in Parque do Ibirapuera will finish on 19 December 2004. Therefore if you haven’t been yet make sure you make plans to go. The bienal, which presents contemporary artwork every two years, is one of the oldest and largest shows of its kind. More than 100 artists from 62 countries are displaying their work. The São Paulo show is one of the most important venues for cutting edge art, which organizers compared to the better-known Venice Bienal. Organizers said they are trying to emphasize art that is outside the mainstream.
Curator Alfons Hug said he chose this year’s theme of No Man’s Land,” to counteract a predominance of what he calls “sociological discussions” in international art exhibits. “The no man’s land is a space for art itself. It’s a space outside the world of economics and politics,” he said.
Calling it “a return to art,” he said he hoped the show would “value the autonomy of art and of its aesthetic principles.” In contrast to the 2002 biennale, which focused on the energy and grit of metropolises, this show will have “more poetry, subtlety and extremely sublime works,” Hug said.
The show also tries to make contemporary art more accessible to the public. For the first time, the show will be free of charge, each artist will have a text introducing his or her work, and 400 guides will be available to help explain the pieces. “We have taken care like never before to help people understand the show,” Hug said. “We have to do away with this prejudice that contemporary art is something out of reach. That isn’t the case. Even a young person can appreciate it as he learns from it.”
Indeed, there are a number of eye-catching works. “Gimme Gummi,” by Austrian artist Leo Schatzl, consists of a candy-apple red Volkswagen Beetle strung up to a metal frame with elastic cords so visitors can literally go for a spin in the car. Spectators can also see haunting photographs captured by U.S. artist Alex Soth on a road trip along the Mississippi River, a life-sized stuffed elephant being attacked by a fake tiger in a piece by Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping, and paintings by Brazilian Beatriz Milhazes, whose flower-like structures and concentric circles burst with color and energy.
This year, organizers are expecting more than 1 million visitors to wander the 25,000 square meter, specially-built Ciccillo Matarazzo, Pavilhão da Bienal, portão 3, Parque do Ibirapuera. The event runs from September 25 to December 19, 2004. From Monday to Thursday, 9.00 am to 10.00 pm – people who get in at 10.00 pm can only stay until 11.00 pm (the Bienal recommends at least 2 hours to visit the exhibition). Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays, 9.00 am to 11.00 pm. The event is free. For more details see the website http://bienalSãopaulo.globo.com
Carlos A. DeJuana, Senior Correspondent, Reuters provided text used for this article“