Those born for adventure don’t stray from the path – artworks from the Videobrasil Collection

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posted on 09/14/2015
A show at Paço das Artes looks for specificities and commonalities between national and international productions in fifteen pieces from the Videobrasil Collection, as part of the parallel program of the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas

On October 9, at 7pm, Those Born for Adventure Don’t Stray From the Path – Artworks from the Videobrasil Collection opens at Paço das Artes, an organization of the Secretariat for Culture of the State of São Paulo. Admission is free. The show will run parallel to the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas – set to take place at Sesc Pompeia and Galpão VB from October 6 to December 6, 2015 – and features fifteen works culled from the Videobrasil Collection by curator Diego Matos, Associação Cultural Videobrasil’s archive and research coordinator. Works by key national video artists of the likes of Cao Guimarães, Carlos Nader, Cristiano Lenhardt (featured in the 19th Festival with a commissioned project), João Moreira Salles, Karim Aïnouz & Marcelo Gomes connect with pieces by Peru’s Gabriel Acevedo, Israel’s Nurit Sharett (featured in the latest edition of the São Paulo Art Biennial), and Algeria’s Malek Bensmaïl, among others. The exhibit will continue until January 10, 2016.

Those born for adventure don’t stray from the path – artworks from the Videobrasil Collection is an indirect exploration of the reflections elicited by the 19th edition of the Festival, whose entire program revolves around the global South and its myriad issues. For Solange Farkas, Videobrasil’s director and the Festival’s chief curator, shows like this one “enable a constant updating of Videobrasil Collection artworks, putting them in touch with the public and at the avail of new curatorial approaches. These new perspectives help confirm the relevance of these productions to today’s art scene." The Videobrasil Collection currently comprises over 1,300 catalogued works, and exhibition projects built through the immersion of curators are one of its key activation and re-contextualization strategies.

The show is the outcome of a partnership that began in 2001, during the 13th Festival, when Videobrasil Collection pieces were shown for the first time at Paço das Artes. “This new encounter between our institutions broadens the discussions from the past fourteen years of partnership by touching on fundamental issues for Paço das Artes: geopolitical references in art and the issue of contemporary art collection and memory. Highlighting art from countries in the global South has also been one of the pillars of our work,” says Priscila Arantes, the art director and curator for Paço das Artes.

Diego Matos explains that the exhibition title was borrowed from the artist Lygia Pape, who uttered the sentence as she interviewed the scholar and art critic Mário Pedrosa for Brazil’s now-defunct O Pasquim weekly, back in 1981. “At a time of crisis, when Brazilian society had already assimilated the trauma and all hope had been killed by the military regime, Pedrosa refreshed belief in the role of the artist and of the public intellectual, as well as in the inherent art-politics relationship,”  the show’s curator reveals. During that same period, video was gaining popularity and becoming increasingly widespread in the country. “At that historical scenario and in the Brazilian setting, art also seemed to be reclaiming its character of resistance in a more immediate way – and video would play this fundamental role,” he adds.

By taking national production as a starting point and connecting it to artworks from six other countries, dating from 1978 to 2012, the curating evinces the “stories that intertwine and reflect the unrestricted field of art.” The exhibition features three broader sections, defined by the commonalities shared by the featured artworks: Affections, Times and Roads, Democracy, Document and Fiction, and Speech, Hearing and Dissent.

In the first section, the show’s epicenter, videos by the Brazilians Karim Aïnouz & Marcelo Gomes, Marcellvs L., and Cao Guimarães and by the Israeli Nurit Sharett present their personal perceptions of times and affective spaces. The second set dives into the political-economic past of countries such as Brazil (in the piece by Geraldo Anhaia Mello), Chile (from the perspective of Cláudia Aravena) and Algeria (according to the artist Malek Bensmaïl), and into the gloomy future imagined by the Otolith Group (United Kingdom). The third one focuses on the bedazzlement that originates from divergences –flawed communication or the impossibility to reach consensus. Subjects that are dealt with in a more or less veiled way are raised here, like racism (by Carlos Nader) and homophobia (in the work of Rita Moreira and of Zambia’s Clive van den Berg). The space of reclaimed speech is offered to anonymous persons in the work of Sandra Kogut.

Four pieces bridge these sections together spatially: they are the work of Cristiano Lenhardt and João Moreira Salles, from Brazil, and Gabriel Acevedo, from Peru, which propose superimposed connections between the groupings and artworks that comprise the exhibition. The architect Claudia Afonso’s priority in designing the show was to allow the public to move around the venue in a continuous, circular, integrated way. The continued transit throughout the exhibition space also takes into consideration the architectural peculiarity of Paço das Artes.

The Public Programs activities of the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas are integrated into the program of the show Those born for adventure don’t stray from the path – artworks from the Videobrasil Collection. Two themed guided tour routes, mediated by the curator Diego Matos, will be available at the venue: Route 1: Brazil, São Paulo – a place for departure is scheduled for November 14, 2015 (Saturday), at 4pm. Working with the notion of a geographical departure point — São Paulo, where the show takes place and where Videobrasil was born —, the route explores the narratives that permeate the exhibition, deconstructing the notion of place and distorting the space-time relationship.

Route 2: Video in the political arena of art will take place on January 9, 2016 (Saturday), at 4pm. This guided tour is designed to render art practice visible as political action, not from a pamphleteering perspective (or not exclusively so), but through conditions such as exclusion-inclusion, physical, social or ethnic origin, among other defining possibilities, positioning “the subject in the political arena, a place of conflict par excellence,” as the curator puts it. Registration is free of charge and available by email ( or telephone (55 11 3814 4832). Mediation actions coordinated by Paço das Artes’ educational team will be available as long as the exhibition lasts.

During the opening dates, Paço das Artes will also feature a Reflection Zone, with computers allowing access to Videobrasil’s online platforms, such as the Video Library (containing some 1,300 Videobrasil Collection pieces); Channel VB, a repository of Videobrasil’s audiovisual productions, including new videos that elaborate on the themes of the 19th Festival’s curatorship and program, with statements from artists, curators and guests; PLATFORM:VB, featuring interviews with artists, the references and connections that underlie their research and their work, also available via QR codes next to the pieces on display; and the print publications edited in partnership by Videobrasil and Edições Sesc São Paulo (like catalogues from past editions of the Festival).

Those born for adventure don’t stray from the path – artworks from the Videobrasil Collection
a parallel exhibition of the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas
opening: October 9, 2015 (Friday), 7pm
opening dates and hours: October 10, 2015 to January 10, 2016
(Wednesdays to Fridays: 10am to 7pm; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 11am to 6pm)

free admission

Exhibition tour routes guided by the curator Diego Matos:
Route 1: Brazil, São Paulo – a place for departure
November 14, 2015 (Saturday), 4pm

Route 2: Video in the political arena of art
January 9, 2016 (Saturday), 4pm
Registration available by email ( or telephone (55 11 3814 4832)

To schedule a guided tour please email

Paço das Artes | Av. Universidade, 1, São Paulo, Brazil