From July to December, the 3rd edition of the International Biennial of Contemporary Art organized by the National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF). BIENALSUR exhibitions, installations, interventions, performances and actions that include more than 400 artists in a hundred venues in 50 cities in 23 countries.
Working in NETWORK, in a COLLABORATIVE, HORIZONTAL and SOLIDARY way, and parting from DESIRE, INDISCIPLINE and DIVERSITY, since 2015 we are building this space for art and culture that, from the South’s south, opens up to the 5 continents through its own cartography, a specific territory and a specific route that rescues the local within the global, the uniqueness within diversity, in defense of the right of access to culture.
Because we work in a NETWORK and in a HORIZONTAL way, we link, in conditions of parity, artists and curators of different origins, trajectories and proposals; institutions as diverse as museums, art centers, universities, public spaces, historical sites, social groups and diverse collectives located in different cities, countries and regions; thus, building new interchange circuits that only take place within the framework of a project such as BIENALSUR. For this reason, it is also a SOLIDARY space, since it is only possible with the generation of synergies and interfaces between sites and different social actors willing to work in COLLABORATION. We chose to focus on ART and CULTURE, because we trust that it is from them that other socio-cultural dynamics and perspectives are activated; to give voice and visibility to aspects of our daily experience that, because they are so “close” to us, we naturalize them, yet it is necessary to look again to be able to think critically about our present: we seek to make each art space a space of thought and reflection. We define ourselves from the INDISCIPLINE, we seek to rethink what is instituted, which leads to rehearsing other ways with artists, curators, institutions, spaces and pre-existing dynamics, in search of contributing to the emergence of new logics of social circulation on a local and global scale. Likewise, we work for the respect of DIVERSITY, for the cultural uniqueness of each group in search of ways to live in/with differences. DESIRE is the engine that allows us to sustain this multipolar and polyphonic project, which takes place simultaneously in more than 20 countries on different continents, works with more than 100 institutions of very different characteristics and dynamics, includes more than 400 artists and curators who were selected in an international Open Call, along with invitations and works from local collections, and it appeals to diverse audiences in search of reaching not only those habitués of the art system but -and above all- inviting and including other spaces and audiences. For all these reasons and with all the effort that this entails we continue -even in times of pandemic, or perhaps today more than ever- supporting BIENALSUR as a vast platform for contemporary art and culture that tears down walls and crosses borders, not only those geographical but -and especially- social and cultural distances, testing the convergence within the BIENALSUR COMMUNITY. This work in progress that is BIENALSUR, far from imposing itself on cultures, institutions or collectives, travels throughout the unique cartography that it designs in each edition with the humility of a migrant, seeking to listen, learn and work in a situated way, yet without losing the global perspective. Curatorial Axes
From BIENALSUR we work from the concept of research curatorship. Curatorship appears as a laboratory that includes diverse perspectives: those of the artists, those of the curators, those of the canonical stories and others that emerge from new questions and intersecting glances. The health crisis that the world has been going through since 2020 confronts us with the abyss of not being able to foresee how it will end. The other reality, the pre-existing one of people without a place, of the overexploitation of the environment by a capitalism that sharpens the differences and makes poverty take forms that refer to times that we thought we had overcome, not only persists but we have no doubt that it will continue deepening in the current conditions, at the same time as the degradation of natural habitats due to extractivism. Uncertainty leads to different solutions, one of them is to consider, from our position in the world of art and culture, to give visibility to some of these problems. For this reason, we identify the issue of ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS among the curatorial axes of BIENALSUR 2021 and as the one that, in different ways, penetrates in several of the different projects. Ecological awareness/WAYS OF LIVING: thinking about spaces, problematizing practices. When we consider the ways in which the occupation of space takes place, we quickly think about the forms that they took: from the division of territories -real or symbolic-, pointing out borders of different types, to the modes of emplacements. The right to space allows to protect the subjects in their diversity and often gives rise to minimal, intimate, private worlds, which coexist alone in the crowd, while others open up to the deployment of large urban projects. These dimensions make it possible to identify, from the perspective of contemporary art, sociocultural practices and representations, fantasies, foreshadowings of the future, as well as to give rise to critical regards. Along with these proposals are others that test other ways of being in the world that we can identify as digital worlds, an aspect that perhaps gained a new preeminence from the daily experience in times of pandemic. The question of ecological awareness that leads to reviewing -as well- the relationships established between human occupation and natural elements, that which is quickly identified as the environment and from which the human species is differenced, again establishes conceptual boundaries and modifies, extracts, preys, reconfigures -from this perspective- also spaces and territories. In connection with the territorial question, the issue of TRANSITS AND MIGRATIONS comes associated here. The management of memory and the uses of history is a problem that becomes intensely visible among the selected projects, many of them thought in the heat of social movements and demands made public that quickly reached a global dimension. All this led us to think about the alternative genealogies that emerge from these symbolic disputes and, with them, to imagine FLUID CONSTELLATIONS as another of the curatorial axes of BIENALSUR 2021. It addresses the issue of diversity not as a problem of representation but from the operations on history carried out by different liberation movements such as feminism, queer movement, indigenism and anti-racist struggles. This axis focuses on the rewritings of history, the proposal of new links between works and cultural agents both from the recovery of figures that were relegated from traditional historiography for reasons of gender, race, sexuality, class or political orientation, and the corpus of work that are claimed, put in value, resignified or appropriated by the struggles of the present. On the other hand, also from the axis of ART POLITICS, which functions as an exercise on the artistic practice itself, in the heat of the contemporary crisis.