Art from the Global South in São José do Rio Preto

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posted on 09/19/2016
Exhibition of prize-winning works from the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil at Sesc Rio Preto will feature thirteen international artists’ takes on the Global South

As of October 4th, 2016 (Tuesday), at 7 p.m., São José do Rio Preto residents can check out the winning works from the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Southern Panoramas that ran from October 6th to December 6th, 2015 in São Paulo. Videos and video installations by 13 artists from South Africa, Brazil, Lebanon, Australia, China, Poland, Peru, Russia, and Turkey will be on show at Sesc Rio Preto through February 5th, 2017. This is a unique opportunity to have a close look at some of the many strains of recent art production in the Global South, a symbolic region that doesn’t conform to a geographical definition or a stable set of political, social, historical and economic situations; instead it assumes a statute of an imagined territory, complete with its own voices, through art.

The opening night will also see a Videobrasil On Tour public program activity, at 7:30 p.m. in the Sesc Rio Preto Theater. Anthropologist Alex Flynn and journalist/researcher Nathalia Lavigne will sit on the panel “The Global South and the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil,” with researcher Ruy Luduvice as moderator. Admission is free.

The geopolitical bent that unites regions with a shared colonial past into a heterogeneous pool of similar accents is an idea that has driven the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil since the 1990s, when Associação Cultural Videobrasil’s partnership with Sesc São Paulo came into being. Since then, the festival went international and broke new ground by promoting and spreading art produced in the Global South, a territory composed of countries situated outside the axes of hegemonic nations. In light of that, the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil On Tour | Winning Works exhibit enables prize-winning artworks to branch out into other localities, helping to broaden the art circuit and form new audiences.

The 19th Festival On Tour leg at Sesc Rio Preto will feature artworks that were awarded the grand prize, residency prizes and honorable mentions by the Festival jury. These artist’s productions exemplify recurring motifs and concerns within the output that Southern Panoramas charts. The artworks focus on the notion of a worsening crisis and on our pressing need to reassess the condition of the subject in the world, as well as his relationship with others; the hidden memories that haunt the night of history, the demise of utopias, the broken-down democracy, the spread of the hate of difference; the boundary between body and architecture as a potential metaphor for the distance between desire and fulfillment; the impact of the public sphere on intimate relationships; the desolating landscapes where few humans dwell that are spawned by the obliteration of the man/nature connection.

The widespread presence of video in installed and narrative forms, both in the exhibition and among the winning works, is a testament to the continuing vitality of image in motion in the Global South, while also reflecting the Festival’s own history and trajectory.

Besides seeing the work of winning artists from the latest edition of the Festival, Sesc Rio Preto goers will be able to partake in public programs activities, to view documentaries and publications produced by the Sesc São Paulo/Associação Cultural Videobrasil partnership, and to watch other pieces in the Video Library, where other works from the 19th Festival and past editions will be available, amounting to almost 1,500 video pieces.

More on the opening panel

The question of the South was the core theme of the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil. A criterion for selection of artists for the Southern Panoramas show in past Festivals, it came under the scrutiny of participating artists, critics, curators, and all those involved in programming this nineteenth edition. As a part of this project, the subject was covered in four panels under the Southern Observatory discussion platform, featuring culture professionals from across the board, in a partnership between Sesc São Paulo, the Goethe-Institut, and Associação Cultural Videobrasil. The opening panel of the On Tour show at Sesc Rio Preto, “The Global South and the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil,” will feature a pair of those professionals—anthropologist Alex Flynn and journalist/researcher Nathalia Lavigne—who were invited to share the considerations from those meetings with the audience.

Alex Flynn is an anthropologist from the Department of Anthropology at Durham University (United Kingdom) and a postdoctoral fellowship holder at the British Academy. He is currently conducting research into contemporary art with an emphasis on aesthetics and politics. In Brazil, he has been researching aspects of social movements, political subjectivity and cultural manifestations since 2007. He is the author of the book Anthropology, Theatre and Development (Palgrave, 2015), co-written with Jonas Tinius, and the coordinator of Anthropologies of Art [A/A], a platform devoted to spreading contemporary perspectives on anthropology of art. He is a member of the team of curators for São Paulo’s Cambridge Artist Residency, in the capacity of resident curator.

Nathalia Lavigne is a journalist and researcher with an MA in Cultural and Critical Studies from Birkbeck, University of London. She is currently researching digital collecting practices and artwork reproducibility on Instagram under the postgraduate program of the School of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of São Paulo. She writes for outlets including Bamboo, Select, Artforum, etc., and does art and programming follow-up work for the Zipper gallery.

Ruy Luduvice is the researcher in charge of Associação Cultural Videobrasil’s Collection and Research Team. He is a doctoral candidate in Philosophy at the University of São Paulo for his work on the interface between Aesthetics and Visual Arts. He completed a master’s degree (2013) and a major (2009) at the same institution, and an exchange program at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (2007–2008). He is a member of the Contemporary Aesthetics Study Group affiliated with the Department of Philosophy at the School of Philosophy, Language and Human Sciences of the University of São Paulo – FFLCH/USP. Ruy Luduvice lives and works in São Paulo.

Prior to this upcoming showing, the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil On Tour | Winning Works had a stint at Sesc São Carlos, from July to September, 2016.

Find out more about the artists and the prize-winning works to be featured at Sesc Rio Preto:


Honorable Mention

A visual artist, he holds a master’s degree in Performing Arts from DasArts, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2005. His productions straddle video, installation, performance, multimedia art, objects and printing. He addresses the fragile geopolitical scenario in Lebanon and neighboring countries, with frequent reflection about the sublime dimension of catastrophe. Through historical and personal accounts, he explores a violence which the political realm has yet to elaborate, or violence not connected to any particular individual, as he looks into the boundaries between real and virtual, physical and digital. His works circulate in the art scene and film festivals, and have been shown at the Helsinki Photography Biennial, Finland (2014); Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2013); Home Works 6, Beirut, Lebanon (2013); Berlinale Film Festival, Berlin, Germany (2013); the Toronto International Film Festival, Canada (2012 and 2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2012); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (2011); Contemporary Image Collective, Cairo, Egypt (2009); 52nd Venice Biennial, Italy (2007); Manifesta, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2005); and others. Ali Cherri lives and works between Beirut and Paris.

The Disquiet, 2013 | video, 20’

The four geological fault lines that run across Lebanon create an instability that can only be likened, in modern times, to the repeated political and war-related setbacks experienced by residents of the country – located, by the way, in the Middle East, one of the world’s most conflict-ridden regions. The artist employs a powerful analogy to comment on situations whose impact on the social fabric is comparable only to the immeasurable (and uncontrollable) destructive rage of nature.


Res Artis Residency Prize (Kooshk Residency — Tehran, Iran)

Aline X is a filmmaker and a visual artist. The holder of a degree in social communication from UFMG, she is a founding partner of production company 88 Filmes, which specializes in experimental videos, documentaries, and performances. She worked as a producer for the educational television network LA36 in Los Angeles, USA. As an editor, assistant director and producer, she has worked with the likes of the group Feito a Mãos/F.A.Q., Cao Guimarães, Éder Santos, João Vargas, Patrícia Moran, Carlos Magno, and Marilia Rocha. Aline X lives and works in Belo Horizonte. Gustavo Jardim is a visual artist and filmmaker. Holding a degree in International Relations, he studied ethnographic film at the University of Toronto, Canada. Jardim works primarily with documentary film and experimental video. He is a member of the independent art production collective DuRolo, which discusses the interplay of different languages in collaborative creative processes. His films have been shown and awarded prizes at Brazilian and international exhibits and festivals. He has collaborated in educational programs in audiovisual production and cultural management. Gustavo Jardim lives and works in Belo Horizonte.

Tocaia | 2014, video installation

The Portuguese word tocaia derives from the native Brazilian language tupi (tokáia) and means hunting trap; it later came to also mean ambush, which applies not only to animals, but also to people. In this installation by Aline X and Gustavo Jardim, we watch as a herd stares at the camera from behind a fence; however minute, their movements are intense, creating a state of alertness and tension. Faced with the bulls, the spectator adopts a threatening stance; but he is being threatened as well. This is a tocaia, but who is the target?

A-I-R Laboratory Residency Prize (A-I-R Laboratory — Warsaw, Poland)

Clara Ianni is a visual artist. She explores the connections between art, politics and ideology using video, installations and objects, among other languages. Ianni’s work has been shown in the 31st São Paulo Art Biennial (2014), the 33rd Panorama of Brazilian Art at the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (2013), the Exhibitions Program of the São Paulo Cultural Center (2012) and the 12th Istanbul Biennial, in Turkey (2011), among other exhibits. She was assistant curator for the 7th Berlin Biennale, in Germany (2012) and Musée du Louvre, in Paris (2008, 2009). She lives and works in São Paulo.

Forma Livre | 2013, video

Linha | 2013, drawing

Two pieces focusing on the discrepancies between discourse and action, project and reality, monument and ruin. The Linha series investigates lines within a cartographical context, approaching them as political events. In Forma Livre, Ianni uses audio from interviews in which Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa were questioned about the 1959 massacre of construction workers who’d rebelled against inhumane working conditions during the construction of Brasília.


Grand Prize

Hui Tao is a visual artist holding a baccalaureate degree in Painting from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, in Chongqing. He works with graphic arts, painting, video, objects and installations. Tao draws on technological procedures and elements of Chinese tradition to question the notion of globalization, virtual relationships, and hegemonic thinking. His work has been shown in exhibitions including Où vas-tu, at the Espace des Arts Sans Frontières, in Paris (2014), Positive Space, at the Times Museum in Guangzhou, China (2014), Leap Video Project, in Hong Kong (2013), The Worst Show, at the Gland Space in Beijing (2012), and the WuSi Youth Art Festivals, in Beijing (2011). Hui Tao lives and works in Beijing.

Talk about body | 2013, video

The artist sits on his bed, clad as a Muslim woman. He addresses the people around him in a low, restrained voice, describing himself and talking about how migration and invasions in the place he was born in have determined his body structure. Nothing explains the video’s composition, the artist-character’s ambiguity, the attire from a culture that is not his own, the presence of the public in the intimate setting of his bedroom. At once subtle and poignant, the piece discusses the randomness of the idea of belonging, or the subjective detachment that is intrinsic to the concept of identity.


Res Artis Residency Prize (Djerassi Resident Artists Program — Woodside, USA)

Karolina Breguła is a visual artist. Her work straddles the boundaries between installation, happening, video and photography as it investigates the role of art in contemporary society, often through irony and parody. She has exhibited at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), the Zachęta National Gallery, in Warsaw (2013), the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, in Warsaw (2013), the Kalmar Art Museum (2012), the Łaźnia Center for Contemporary Art, in Gdańsk (2011 and 2006), and Real Art Ways, in Hartford (2006), among other events and venues. Karolina Bregula lives and works in Warsaw.

Fire-Followers | 2013, video

A small town in Northern Europe is repeatedly hit by fires that ravage its art collections, among other things. Prevention measures are developed and put in place to prevent the constant blazes. However, rumor spreads among the locals that the burning of artworks is intentional and a necessity so that creative thinking and artistic heritage can be renewed. Although there is no evidence that the rumor is true, fear and paranoia set in among the residents, who begin to fear art as a result.


China Art Foundation Residency Prize (Red Gate Residency — Beijing, China)

Köken Ergun is an artist holding a master’s degree in Art History from Istanbul Bilgi University. He worked in theater prior to moving into video and performance. His interests lie with the rituals of nationalism and of minority communities as builders of identity and unity. His work has been shown at the Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, in Ludwigshafen (2014), the Protocinema festival, in New York (2013), the Triennale du Palais de Tokyo, in Paris (2012), and the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, in Amsterdam (2007), among other exhibits and venues. His films have won prizes at international events including the International Film Festival Rotterdam (2007) and Berlinale (2013). Köken Ergun lives and works in Berlin.

Bayrak (The Flag) | 2006, video installation

On April 23, Turkey celebrates Children’s Day and the establishment of its Parliament, in 1920, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. This particular piece documents a patriotic celebration at an Istanbul stadium, as local primary school students perform choreographies reminiscent of the ceremonies of totalitarian states, from North Korea to fascist-era Italy. Ergun underscores an instance of a brand of nationalism that is now resurging everywhere in the world. A utilitarian view of children as future citizens makes them the preferred targets of the propaganda machine; education becomes a violent ideological tool.


Delfina_Videobrasil Residency Prize (Delfina Foundation — London, United Kingdom)

Luciana Magno is an artist and researcher. Focusing on the body and on performance, her work discusses political, social, and anthropological issues relating to the impact of development in the Amazonian region. She has exhibited at Centro Cultural Banco do Nordeste, in Fortaleza (2014), at the Arte Pará salon in the State Museum of Pará, in Belém (2014), and at the Rio Art Museum, in Rio de Janeiro (2013), among other venues and exhibitions. She won the 10th edition of the Funarte Visual Arts National Network Program with her project Telefone sem fio, which saw her travel from Brazil’s northernmost point Oiapoque to the southernmost, Chuí, through highways and waterways, to build up a video and audio archive of the country’s cultural, historical and geographical diversity. Luciana Magno lives and works in Belém.

Trans Amazônica | 2013, video

An ambitious project of the Brazilian military regime’s, the Transamazonian Highway cuts through seven states and inhabits the collective imaginations of several generations, due to its sheer size and the idea of a development-oriented future of national unity it represents. Numerous modifications and the lack of a consistent roads policy have contributed to its remaining unfinished to this day. In this performance, the artist curls up into a fetal position in a stretch of highway, mimicking the stance that indigenous people are buried in. The traffic grows heavier on the highway, which leads to the city of Altamira and to the construction site of the controversial Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant, on the Xingu River Basin.


Res Artis Residency Prize (Kyoto Art Center — Kyoto, Japan)

Maya Watanabe is a visual artist. Using video, video installation and performance, she explores questions of identity, rupture, causality, and non-linear narratives. Her work has been shown at venues including Matadero Madrid, in Madrid (2014), Palais de Tokyo, in Paris (2013), Musée du Quai Branly, in Paris (2013), Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Lima (2011, 2013), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, in dMadri (2009), and Museo de Arte Moderna, in Buenos Aires (2009). Her work was featured in the Beijing Biennale (2009) and in the Amsterdam Mediamatic Biennale (2009), among other shows. Maya Watanabe lives and works in Madrid.

Escenarios II | 2014, video installation

The camera moves subtly across a desert plain, spinning around and examining the landscape. At a certain point, a flaming car appears amid the uneven terrain. The scene seems endless, since our gaze always returns to the same spots and places, looking for some piece of data to tell us something about the nature of what is going on. There are no signs of human presence in this piece other than the realization that something happened – an abandoned car catches on fire –, as Watanabe makes viewers the witnesses of what they’re watching.


Honorable Mention

A visual artist and filmmaker, he holds a master’s degree in Arts from the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa. MacGerry works with film, sculpture, photography and artist’s books. His work explores modern-day ramifications of Western imperialism in the African continent, particularly regarding the complex dynamics of natural resource extraction, especially petroleum, in post-independence African nation-states. His short films mostly portray issues connected with identity, African science fiction and the legacy of modernism. He has been featured in festivals and exhibitions including the Rotterdam Festival, Netherlands (2015); Impakt Festival, Utrecht, Netherlands (2012), at the Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2011); the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland (2011); and others. In 2010, he was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Arts. Michael MacGerry lives and works in Johannesburg.

Excuse Me, While I Disappear, 2014 | video, 19’10”

This piece looks into Kilamba Kiaxi, an urban development in Luanda, and into a young man’s work day to reveal the impact of international capital flows on the global market. The film’s surreal denouement appears to underscore Kilamba Kiaxi’s inadequacy as a real estate project – offering apartments for a price that’s out of reach for the vast majority of Angola’s population – while also reflecting about the absurd working conditions of the contemporary neoliberal system.


Arquetopia_Videobrasil Residency Prize (Arquetopia — Puebla, Mexico)

Paulo Nazareth takes long walks spanning countries and continents, creating videos, print work and performances in the process. His solo exhibitions include Genocide in Americas, at the Meyer Riegger, in Berlin (2015), Che Cherera, at the Mendes Wood DM gallery, in São Paulo (2014), and Premium Bananas, at the São Paulo Museum of Art (2012). His work has been featured in the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), the Montevideo Biennial (2013), the Benin Biennale, in Cotonou (2012/13), the Lyon Biennale (2013), and in the group exhibit Imagine Brazil, at the Astrup Fearnley Museet, in Oslo (2013). He won the Masp – Mercedes-Benz Visual Arts Prize (2012) and his work is in the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro – Gilberto Chateaubriand Collection, Astrup Fearnley Museet, in Oslo, and the Rubbel Family Collection, in Miami.

L’Arbre D’Oublier | 2013, video

Cine África | 2012-2013, video

Cine Brasil | 2012-2013, video

Ipê Amarelo | 2012-2013, video

By going on long walks, the artist questions ethnic and national identities and builds tension regarding the global scale. L’Arbre d’oublier [The tree of forgetfulness] was shot in the port city of Ouidah, Benin, a major African slave trafficking hub during the 18th and 19th centuries. The enslaved men leaving the port were forced to walk around the Tree of Forgetfulness seven times, in a ritual designed to erase their emotional ties and identities. The artist walks backwards 437 times around that same tree in a poetic attempt at rewinding history. In the other three videos, he does the same around trees in other places, including a specimen of Brazil’s national symbol the ipê-amarelo (Golden Trumpet Tree) in the city of Belo Horizonte.


Wexner Center for the Arts Residency Prize (Wexner Center for the Arts — Columbus, USA

Pilar Mata Dupont is a visual artist. Running the gamut from video to photography, performance, and design, her productions investigate ideas of nationalism and identity. Her work was featured in group exhibitions at The Secession Building, in Vienna (2014), the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2014), Akademie der Künste, in Berlin (2012), Gallery of Modern Art, in Brisbane (2012, 2008), Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris (2011) and at the 17th Sydney Biennale, among other shows and venues. She won the prestigious Basil Sellers Art Prize in 2010, in partnership with Tarryn Gill. Pilar Mata Dupont lives and works between Perth, Australia and Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Purgatorio | 2014, video

The construction of the modern State is closely connected with the emergence of bureaucracy. Throughout history, bureaucratic structures often embrace specific political projects, helping to conceal lend a semblance of isonomy to the fact that citizens of different origins and with different ideas are treated in very different ways. This Brechtian operetta reveals that behind clerks’ desks, computers, telephones, register books and counters there lurk those who are ultimately responsible for the fates of the excluded, the refugees, the torture victims, the immigrants and other assorted characters who can never find shelter within the architecture of power.


Vila Sul – Goethe-Institut Residency Prize (Vila Sul Residency — Salvador, Brazil)

Roy Dib is an artist and art critic. Territory, memory and imagination conflate in his films, videos, and installations, addressing subjective constructions of space and how they reflect the geopolitical context of the Middle East. His work has been shown at the EcransMed Film Festival, Montreal (2014), the Berlinale, in Berlin (2014), Video Works, in Beirut (2014, 2011), Parallel Vienna (2013), the Rotterdam International Film Festival (2013) and the Palais de Tokyo, in Paris (2012), among other venues and exhibits. Roy Dib lives and works in Beirut.

A Spectacle of Privacy | 2014, video installation

Inner conflicts governed by the sphere of emotions that act upon bodies are also subordinate to and interspersed by political and social struggles. In A Spectacle of Privacy, a couple protected by the privacy of a hotel room discusses contraceptive measures in a power play that is at once sexual and political: control and competition coexist with trust and complicity. The fact that the lovers have different ethnic backgrounds echoes the animosity between Israel and Palestine; a public context dictates feelings and perceptions of the most intimate relationships.


Honorable Mention

A visual artist, she holds a baccalaureate degree in Arts from Goldsmiths College in London, United Kingdom, 2007, and a master’s degree from the Royal College of Art, in the same city, 2013. Makhacheva develops a performance-based practice, working with video, photography and installation. A Russian descendent of Republic of Dagestan’s Avar ethnic group, she questions the traditional forms of history constitution, as well as culture and gender norms, through reflection on the role of traditional heritage in contemporaneity. Her work combines the Caucasus’ landscape and history into a meditation on the natural and the cultural, identity and otherness. Her works have been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Leipzig, Germany (2014); 55th Venice Biennale, Italy (2013); 7th Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom (2012); 11th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2013); 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Russia (2011); Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Russia (2010). Taus Makhacheva lives and works between Makhachkala and Moscow.

Gamsutl, 2012 | video, 16’01”

In Gamsutl, we observe the ruins of a village of the Avare, an ethnic group originally from the Dagestan area, on the Caucasus Mountains. Their isolation failed to shield them from outside influences that ultimately dismantled them socially and economically. In this piece, Makhacheva speaks of time as a matter of history, but also as a poetic resource to connect past and future. From the specificity of her cultural context, the artist adds poetical awareness and political critique to different experiences of the geopolitical South.


What: 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil | Winning Works

Opening: October 4, 2016, 7pm

Public programs: October 4, 2016, 7:30pm | “The Global South and the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil”, feat. anthropologist Alex Flynn, journalist and researcher Nathalia Lavigne, with mediation by researcher Ruy Luduvice

Dates and times: October 5, 2016, to February 5, 2017 | Tuesday to Friday, 1pm to 10pm; Saturday, Sunday and holidays, 9:30pm to 7pm.

Sesc Rio Preto: Av. Francisco das Chagas Oliveira, 1333 - Chácara Municipal, São José do Rio Preto - SP

Free admission