One of SP-Arte’s highlights, the Solo sector is a curated selection of galleries each dedicated to the presentation of a single artist. The curator of the 2016 edition, Luiza Teixeira de Freitas was born in Rio de Janeiro and has lived in New York, Lisbon, and London, where she currently resides and works as an independent curator. Luiza talks to SP-Arte about her international experience and her hopes for SP-Arte/2016.
SP-Arte: Tell us about your professional experience, how did you become a curator?
LTF: I earned my MFA at Goldsmiths in London, between 2008 and 2010, years in which I consider the concept of the curator took on a whole new dimension. It became more global and the profession became, to a certain degree, more common. Since 2005, without a doubt there has been a proliferation of the profession. My relationship with contemporary art started much earlier, however. I come from a family where art has always been a part of daily life, a common denominator in the day to day. I grew up surrounded by artists, curators, gallerists, and collectors. Choosing to work as a curator ended up happening very organically.
After Goldsmiths, I did a lot of internships, including in the curating department at the Tate Modern, where I worked on the exhibitions of Cildo Meireles and Cy Twombly. I was assistant curator of the Marrakech Biennale in 2009, and I worked for many years with galleries Alexander and Bonin in New York, and Kurimanzutto in Mexico. I’ve also had many experiences with art fairs, ARCO Madrid, ArtDubai, and many artist’s book fairs.
The main focus of my research as a curator is very connected to artist’s books and documents. I always try to curate exhibitions, I feel that it is a way to continue my research, work with artists and build new relationships. I think the greatest pleausure I get out of being a curator is just that: when art brings people together. Today I work as an independent curator and with some private collections.
SP-Arte: Which projects have shaped you? What projects have changed your perspective?
LTF: I think each project has shaped me in different ways. The most valuable aspect is having had all of these experiences. I worked at Tate, and it was very important to understand an institution of that size, later I worked at Chisenhale Gallery for two years, and despite it being much smaller, it is one of the most important spaces in the world for young artists. It has another rhythm, another point of view, and a different work style. In other words, I think that this variety of expriences is what has helped me be more understanding of the various positions, links, and trends in contemporary art, in a more international way.
SP-Arte: Residing in London, how do you see the evolution and representation of Brazilian art abroad?
LTF: Honestly, I can’t speak much of national identity. I left Rio de Janeiro when I was five years old, despite visiting every year, I lived in New York when I was little, then later spent time in Lisbon, and have lived the past eight years in London. Of course I follow what is going on in Brazil and in Brazilian art, but I think that my reality is in a limbo, between cultures, countries, and people. In Brazil I am not considered a Brazilian curator and in Portugal I am not considered a Portuguese curator, it’s difficult to find a single identity.
SP-Arte: What are your expectations for the Solo sector at SP-Arte/2016? Have you followed the selection of galleries and artists in previous editions of the Fair? If so, do you plan on continuing the same path as previous curators?
LTF: As I mentioned before, my main objective is to build bridges, connect people, create an exchange between artists, and the work the galleries are doing. I have accompanied the work of the Solo sector of previous editions, and I think I will follow a very similar line of work, I will avoid any thematic approximation as I think that can reduce the connections and ideas behind works. I am trying to bring projects and artists that will be relevant in the Brazilian scene and vice-versa, so that the people who will visit the sector will be able to take away with them new things from what is exhibited. Many galleries come from very far and travelling and participating in SP-Arte can be costly- one of my objectives is to be sure that each gallery, each artist, and each projects receives the attention they deserve.
SP-Arte: Do you plan on having a focus? Where are you gathering your inspiration and choices for the works of the artists?
LTF: My only focus is to bring projects that I find relevant for the public visiting SP-Arte. I am also trying to bring galleries that will benefit from being in an area that is more focussed within the fair or that has never been to to São Paulo or Brazil.