art 2004/2

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Paulo Bruscky (Brazilija). Menininko studija. 2004

Muntean & Rosenblum (Austrija). Be pavadinimo (Jausmai, kurie skaudina). 2002, drobë, akrilas, 250x300

Mindaugas ir Gintautas Lukođaičiai. Instaliacija Rezistencija. 2003–2004, popierius, pieđtukas, 21x30 (18 pieđiniř)

Sâo Paulo Biennial

by Űla Tornau

The 26th Contemporary Art Biennial of Sâo Paulo, Brazil, took place on September 25 – December 19. The Sâo Paulo and the Venice Biennial are two mega events that preserved the traditional two-part structure, the curator’s theme and the national collections. This year’s event aimed to demonstrate the distancing of the participating artists from the Eurocentric concept of art. Encouraged by the biennial curator Alfons Hug to avoid the video format, the participating countries mostly presented installation, “new painting” and performance formats. Two brothers, Mindaugas and Gintautas Lukođaitis, represented Lithuania with their installation The Resistance.  A series of black-and-white realistic drawings reminiscent of film frames and two mask-like likenesses of the historic freedom fighters impressed the viewer through a forthright interpretation of the theme and the immediacy of selected medium. The classical techniques, reinterpreted and reshaped, dominated the exhibition in its entirety, perceived as an organic whole due to the unifying concept of the architect.
The curator perceives central to the curatorial theme of the Image Smugglers in a Free Territory idea of no man’s land as a specific realm created by the artist’s subjective experience. He pursues the agenda of re-establishing the modernist idea of the autonomy of the work of art. Alongside, he assumes that aesthetic process should counter the mass culture, the cult of technology. Art should emerge as an antidote to the unification generated by globalization. Besides the efforts to rehabilitate the classical aesthetics, the project articulated the idea of geo-cultural polarity, of the North and the South, associated according to the curator, with different traditions and strategies. The southern camp is associated with the protest against market economy and unification. This protest takes the form of ignoring the reality by withdrawing into dreams or emotional experience. The northern (European-Anglo-Saxon) form of revolt is defined as an involvement into the real processes through documentary and sociological strategies. The Sâo Paulo project implicitly criticized the latter strategies for conformance to the rules of political games. The tendency to perceive the video and photographic formats as mediums that document aggressive reality without transforming it was also there. 
The visual part of the biennial, however, was not so strictly hierarchic. It abounded in dreams, tales, quiet, unrealistic and repetitive images. Yet each artist chose one’s own medium: German Julian Rosenfeldt and Jorge Macchi from Argentina showed installation; American Alec Soth and German Vera Lutter displayed photography.  The Dutch female artist Jennifer Tee employed the double impact of performance and installation. The Brazilian artist Paulo Bruscky exhibited his studio with his personal items thus offering the spectator some unexpected utopian intimacy.

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