During the last Venice Biennale, Recife native Paulo Bruscky – one of the five Brazilian artists participating in the 57th edition of the event in Italy – made a performance that led to a lot of talk in the artistic scenario worldwide. At the time, he arrived at the event venue in a gondola with 30 boxes of works, which were then transported by carriers dressed in blue overalls. When they arrived at the destination, Bruscky piled one box on top of the other and never opened them. The phrase “Art is packaged any way you like it” was stamped on their clothing, banners and wooden crates: Bruscky’s performance was like a manifest, which showed how deep art should be beyond its packaging.
Bruscky’s presentation at one of the most relevant art venues worldwide is an example of the power of performance production in Brazil and its international acclaim. Within this scenario, SP-Arte had to incorporate this artistic expression in its program, which it’s been doing since 2015, bringing several performances to the Bienal Pavilion. For its 14th edition, SP-Arte/2018 decided to deep dive and intensify even more its relationship with this artistic style, dedicating a space specifically for presentations. This action walks hand-in-hand with Bruscky’s rationale of further delving into the public’s relationship with contemporary art.
For such, artist, independent curator and coworker at the Marina Abramovic Institute Paula Garcia was invited to gather and create a joint dynamic between artists for this space. The idea is that visitors immerse in the environment without a specific date or time: the performers present their act simultaneous without any interruption during the five days of the event for eight hours nonstop. “The intention is to develop a project of significant intensity and power, delivery, representation and, why not, risk,” says Paula. The artistic marathon requires a lot of preparation: the artists arrive before the Pavilion doors open and are the last to leave. “They are preparing to stay there the whole time without even leaving to go to the restroom. My intention is that the presentations become a single scene and the space transforms throughout the process in accordance with the placement of artists,” says the curator.
Five artists and collectives were hand chosen to be part of the program: Brechó Replay, Karla Girotto, Paul Setúbal, Gabriel Vidolin and the duet Protovoulia, with Jessica Goes and Rafael Abdala. They will coinhabit the 200 m² space located at the end of the second floor the Pavilion. “Performance is these people’s life. I’m certain that these are the names that will make history,” says Paula, in justifying her selection. Each one of the presentations is described below:
"Compensação por excesso", Paul Setúbal
The body and its use, the control and abuse of power are themes present in all of the work by Goiás native Paul Setúbal, who produces using several supports, like painting, photography, sculpture and performance. He has already used his own blood and materials like fire and iron in his actions, which are usually recorded in video and photo. For SP-Arte/2018, Paul intends to play with the art market concept and, for such, is preparing a set up that will include several works of historical and commercial importance. “I’m approaching galleries, institutions and collections that are willing to run the risk of lending pieces from their collection. If no one agrees, the project won’t happen,” says the artist. Anybody out there willing to help out?
"Zeitgeist", 2016 (Photo: Paul Setúbal)
"Son of a Gun", 2012 (Photo: Paul Setúbal)
"Aphotecary ", Gabriel Vidolin
Working for the last six years as head of the Leão Vermelho restaurant project, in São João da Boa Vista, inner state São Paulo, Gabriel Vidolin saw that he could also work in the arts field. “My work occurs at dinner and can never be repeated; it’s an experience. And this passes through performance research. I wanted to join both,” says the 28-year-old chef, who previously worked at renowned restaurants Factorio and D.O.M. For his action, he investigates the curing powers of food: Can a cook cure a feeling? Only those who try his little hors d’oeuvres can answer the question.
Dish prepared by Gabriel Vidolin (Photo: Eduardo Pereira)
Ice cream made by the artist (Photo: Eduardo Pereira)
"Debris", Protovoulia collective
Protovoulia is the name of the duet formed by Goiás native Rafael Abdala and Rio de Janeiro native Jessica Goes, who only work with works in process – like performance – and not effectively their result. For the Festival, the duet creates an impacting scenario, a large volume of ashes from carbonized waste, as well as antique porcelain vases. From there, all types of action can be executed: breaking, scattering, joining, storing… Whatever they can do with the material during the eight hours of daily performance. Gotta be creative!
"Retain/Release", 2016 (Photo: Panos Kokkinias)
"From nothing to nowhere", 2016 (Photo: Adrian Notz)
"Protocolai workshop", 2016 (Photo: George Mavrikakis)
"Dança estranha" and "Só se me dormirem", Karlla Girotto
Imagine a dance contest in which there are no competitors: this is what Karlla Girotto proposes in her “Strange dance”, in which she competes against herself. She also invites the audience to transform her, placing accessories or choosing a song from a playlist. In turn, in “Only if they put me to sleep” several women invite the public to dance. But the task will not be easy: each couple dances at a different rhythm. “When I have the opportunity to include the audience in my research, I can stretch reality and create a field of forces with several different experiences. And then, I have infinite material to work with,” says the artist, also creator and collaborator of the art, fashion and manual wisdom research group G>E (to be read as Group greater than and I), which works at the crossroads of art, headquartered at Casa do Povo.
Performance "Eu sou muitas", 2016 (Photo: Karlla Girotto)
Performance "Eu sou muitas", 2016 (Photo: Karlla Girotto)
Brechó Replay Actions
Runways are also performance spaces. For Brechó Replay, fashion goes even further: it’s an expression of the individuality of people and a sign of the particularities of a group. Therefore, the project uses fashion as a social criticism tool to contemplate minorities through editorials, parties, multimedia projects – or a long and colorful performance, in this case, SP-Arte/2018. Whether selling clothes from its collection or encouraging the fashion of reusing clothes, the creative platform praises the political power of bodies.