The first International Contemporary Art Biennial of South America -BIENALSUR - has presented a vast simultaneous itinerary for its visitors to follow from the opening of the event on September 14th to December. This map, which goes as far as Japan, has the MUNTREF - the Immigration Museum and Contemporary Art Centre of the UNTREF – as its kilometre 0 marker. Between September and December, the full BIENALSUR program will be available on Bienalsur.org.
One of the most innovative proposals of BIENALSUR is the unprecedented design of its own cartography. It covers a specific territory and itinerary whose kilometre 0 marker is the city of Buenos Aires, a hub that reaches out to a South American continent of a planetary-scale dimension, gathering artists and curators from the five continents.
With venues in 32 cities from 16 countries, this new cartographic universe seeks to erase temporal and spatial borders by means of the simultaneity provided by technology. "It will be possible to participate at the same time in different shows and events in cities that are interconnected whatever the distance that separates them. This means that a spectator attending an exhibition in Bogota will feel part of a cultural network, as the shows in other countries will be projected on screens. We are then seeking to integrate our countries through culture", said Aníbal Jozami, Rector of the UNTREF and general Director of BIENALSUR.
The kilometres of the BIENALSUR CARTOGRAPHY are measured from the MUNTREF, located in the former Hotel de Inmigrantes in the Buenos Aires harbour. Between September and December, this exhibition hall will host this event along with the main museums, culture centres, buildings and iconic public spaces of Buenos Aires.
However, Buenos Aires will not be the only venue in Argentina. The BIENALSUR itinerary will also include Tigre, Caseros, Rosario, Córdoba, San Juan, Tucumán, Salta and Bahía Bustamante in Chubut. The road continues simultaneously within the continent through Uruguay (Montevideo), Paraguay (Asunción), Chile (Santiago de Chile and Valparaíso), Brazil (Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Sorocaba and Pernambuco), Peru (Lima), Ecuador (Guayaquil); Colombia (Bogota); Mexico (Mexico DF), and Cuba (Havana).
In the spirit of a vision that focuses on a "Global South" (Sur Global), this territory stretches beyond the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Cotonou, the capital of Benin, is the venue in the African continent. The European venues include Spain (Madrid and Palma de Mallorca), France (Paris and Marseille), and Germany (Berlin). And finally Japan follows suit where the antipodal city of Tokyo is brought closer.
"BIENALSUR aims to develop a real procedural exercise through artistic and intellectual creation. The curatorial work seeks to go beyond conventions inasmuch as the standard criteria used in contemporary art shows are challenged", pointed out Diana Wechsler, Artistic and Academic Director of the Biennial.
The navigation along this vast territory, which brings remote places together and attempts to unite cultures, results from the arduous professional undertaking of an International Curatorial Council made up of the following members from 16 countries: Florencia Battiti (Argentina), Lionel Bovier (Switzerland), Tadeu Chiarelli (Brazil), Estrella De Diego (Spain), Albertine de Galbert (France), Néstor García Canclini (Argentina / Mexico), Andrés Duprat (Argentina), Ticio Escobar (Paraguay), Fernando Farina (Argentina), Abdellah Karroum (Morocco / United Arab Emirates), Fábio Magalhães (Brazil), Jeanine Meerapfel (Germany), Hans Ulrich Obrist (Switzerland/ the United Kingdom), Rodrigo Quijano (Peru), Ivonne Pini (Colombia), Liliana Piñeiro (Argentina) and Marie-Cécile Zinsou (Benin).
BIENALSUR is organized by the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) of the Argentine Republic. Its Rector, Aníbal Jozami, is the General Director, Diana Wechsler, the Artistic and Academic Director and Marlise Ilhesca, responsible for General Consulting. Over 95% of the works of the Biennial were selected after a careful screening process that included two international open free topic calls. These open calls invited artists and curators to conceive specific original projects. More than 2,500 proposals from 78 countries were submitted. These calls revealed the recurrent presence of projects in active conversation with each other both inside and outside the world of art.