DISSIDENCE AND NEW REPRESENTATIONS. THE SÃO PAULO BIENNIAL 2023
Eustáquio Neves with Galería Vermelho
A chemist by training, Eustáquio Neves works from matrices that receive many interventions before reaching the final images for printing. These layers signal the ancestral traditions that are behind documentary records.
The artist participates with two of his most emblematic series of photographs. O Encomendador de Almas [The Soul Commissioner] was produced from the meeting between Eustáquio Neves and Crispim Veríssimo at Quilombo Ausente, in Serro, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Mr. Crispim, as he is known, has the task of freeing the souls of the dead in the quilombo so that they can walk their spiritual paths. Eustáquio's images are built in pairs that reaffirm the relationship between people, territory and tradition in Ausente.
In Arturos, Eustáquio Neves portrayed a black community reminiscent of Arturos' Quilombo, in Contagem, Minas Gerais. The accumulation of interventions in the images registered in Arturos reflects what the critic and curator Eder Chiodeto called "Photographic Thickness".
Archivo de la Memoria Trans (AMT)
The Archivo de la Memoria Trans [Trans Memory Archive] (AMT) seeks to protect, construct, and recover memories of the trans community through photographs, videos, and newspaper and magazine clippings. Created in Argentina and with a collection of approximately 15,000 pieces, the archive exists and grows daily through donations. Challenging prevailing narratives, the AMT serves as a depository for a deliberately erased collective memory, reminding society of the experiences of trans people, who have faced hostility and incomprehension in society and suffered from negligence of the state.
The archive arose out of the visionary ideas of activists María Belén Correa and Claudia Pía Baudracco. After Claudia’s death in 2012, María Belén started developing the project. She created a Facebook group, Archivo de la Memoria Trans, to connect with people involved in this history of struggle. In 2018, the group had over a thousand trans women participants, Argentinian and otherwise. The initial idea was to gather the members, their memories, and their photographs, first, preserving that material in a library, and later in a virtual space. Before long, this objective expanded and soon transformed into a collective effort to construct a common memory.
Ayrson Heráclito & Tiganá Santana
“Under the ever-alert protection of caboclos, encantados, Oxóssi, and Mutalambô, Ayrson Heráclito and Tiganá Santana, eyes that never sleep, fulfill a dream: a tribute to the forest, an offering to the forces of nature, praising the energy stored among plants and trees that make the existence of humanity possible”, wrote Luciana Brito.
Ayrson Heráclito is a visual artist, researcher, curator, and professor. His works have been presented in solo and group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, including the III Bienal do Mercosul (Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil), II Trienal de Luanda (Angola). Tiganá Santana is a composer, singer, curator, poet, multiartist, translator and professor of Arts at Universidade Federal da Bahia. Initiated in Candomblé as Taata Kambondo, he has released many albums, sound and multimedia works, being the first composer to present an album in African languages in Brazil, as well as being equally recognized by his research in Bantu studies.
“Hypersexualization, menial work, and the Black mother. These are some of the stereotypes of Black women that exist in the Brazilian popular imagination. This objectivation and sexual appropriation of the body guides behaviors and constructs identities that are always harmful. They naturalize, reduce, and fix these bodies within a relationship of domination that crosses race, gender, and class, subjecting Black women to positions of great social vulnerability.
In an act of protest that pervades her entire career, Rosana Paulino confronts this violence, deconstructing stereotypes and representations of the racialized female body, by stressing (or revealing) how scientific theories have founded the racial theories of official history. A Brazilian educator, researcher, and interpreter of Brazilian culture, with a doctorate in visual arts, Paulino turns the body into a place of memory; a body that generates thought and is filled with questions to be revisited. Speaking through and for this body, she weaves, destabilizes, and subverts the colonial certainties that run through us” explained Bárbara Copque.
The artistic output of Igshaan Adams consists in producing beauty from materials considered to be of little value, but which are deeply connected to the everyday life of the non-white working classes who still live in the so-called South African townships (Areas created during Apartheid to confine black and mixed-race people).
His works materialize experimentations by working women and men, based on their tensioning agency of everyday life marked by racial segregation, inequality, and poverty. Sharply demarcated urban lines weaken, bend, become sinuous, and defy straight, rigid lines imposed by the Apartheid regime and its reminiscences in contemporary times.
Geraldine Javier lives and works in the crucible of a climate crisis that makes guilt and extinction go hand in hand. In her work, the often pessimistic and nostalgic reactions to this necro-speculative economy are openly confronted with installations and paintings that present a self-mutating world of plants no longer recognizable. In Oblivious to Oblivion (2017), a large- scale installation which forms a massive suspended cloud, the threaded pictures of unlikely vegetables hang along mirrors. The fleeting reflections of spectators in the small mirrors further insist on an undifferentiated humanity, challenging its deeply rooted antagonism with the natural world.
Denilson Baniwa’s work proposes a reworking of the idea of the archive as a pedagogical tool for reflection and a factory of history. From his early works, which intervene in engravings produced in the context of the colonization of the Americas, to his most recent works, which are installation-based and participatory, Baniwa intrudes upon the archive with the aim of stressing and weakening the accelerated time of conquest and colonization and bringing forth the time of reflection, waiting, and listening. In more recent works, such as Nada que é dourado permanece, hilo, amáka, terra preta de índio [Nothing that is golden remains, hilo, amáka, Indigenous dark earth] (2021), Ygapó – terra firme [Ygapó – Dry land] (2022) and Escola Panapaná [Panapaná School] (2023), the artist commits to stimulating relationship and contact, rescuing the image of cultivating the fields and life in the forest as a metric of time and a metaphor for education.
In Kwema/Amanhecer [Kwema/Dawn], Denilson Baniwa deepens his research on the integration between artwork and community, complexifies the technical procedures that allow the passage from the field of representation to that of experience, and reveals the possibility of harvesting and eating as the realization of the act of sharing and the reworking of memory.