The Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas proposes to present a selection of the cultural production of the geopolitical South focused on historical, political, social and humanitarian issues. In its 19th edition, the Festival will hold three exhibitions (at Sesc Pompeia and Galpão VB) plus a parallel show at Paço das Artes, release publications, and organize performances and public programs.
The exhibition Southern Panoramas | Guest Artists is a new addition to the Festival format, that until last year was organized exclusively through open calls. For the first time, the event comprehends a group show of guest artists, whose works elaborate pertinent questions to the geopolitical South. Through myriad strategies, ranging from the revival of ancestral cultural traditions to iconoclasm, from reflections about the meaning of widely circulated images to the building of ruins, the Festival’s five guest artists attest to the power of voices that speak of and from the South. In different ways, the Brazilians Sônia Gomes (b. 1948, Caetanópolis, Brazil) and Rodrigo Matheus (b. 1974, São Paulo, Brazil), the Portuguese Gabriel Abrantes (b. 1984, United States), Mali’s Abdoulaye Konaté (b. 1953, Diré, Mali), and Morocco’s Yto Barrada (b. 1971, Paris, France) deal with the frayed social fabric that composes the contemporary political scenario.
Abdoulaye Konaté overreaches the bounds of painting to engender a new language that blends his rigorous artistic training with elements of traditional Malian culture, especially textiles. His extraordinary use of color and strict compositions maintain a clearly politicized vim, which exposes African issues, as well as universal ones. Inspired by his 2014 encounter with a Guarani Indian tribe in Ubatuba, on the São Paulo State coast, his tapestries presented at Southern Panorama | Guest Artists speak of threatened cultures.
As a child, in a flash of revolt, Sônia Gomesdecided to run away from home; she gathered snippets of textiles into a truss. That truss would return to her years later in seminal form as an artistic procedure. At the exhibition, she experiments with a scale that challenges the intimacy of the body. Each bend or cavity, each fabric or skin seems to speak of a subject in its singularity or a collective with a shared history and culture.
Rodrigo Matheus requires the support of heavy engineering to hang barrels and create structures out of scales, weights, and counterweights that lure the public into a zone of instability that echoes the provisional nature of contemporary economic and social relations. The work stems from the artist’s observation of the venue’s history and attempts to restore, physically, some of the legacy of “ruin” the city has endured over the last hundred years.
The dynamics of representation and the impact the circulation of images has on identity building are the themes of choice of Yto Barrada, a French artist of Moroccan descent. Her “Wallpaper” is paradigmatic. Daily contact with wallpapers featuring far-off views is common in Moroccan stores and coffee shops. It underlines the friction between real life and the desire to belong to another reality, between the reality and fiction of a comfortable life waiting to cross over to the other side.
Gabriel Abrantes was born in the US to African parents yet lives in Lisbon and considers himself a Portuguese artist. His films explore the conflict between traditional and emerging axes of power. With an iconoclastic vision of history, art, and cinema, his narrative speculations analyze the ways global culture is being transformed by the rise of new players, and the impacts emerging identities are having on cultures that were once hegemonic.
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