The 9th edition of the Mercosur Biennale in Porto Alegre, Brazil brings 69 artists from 27 countries. What makes this event different from the rest of the art fairs in South America is that it presents a global vision that applies beyond the continent. It also boosts Latin American art and establishes a relationship with galleries and museums the world over. The biennial, which is supported by the countries that comprise the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), transcends its own borders to promote the arts of the member nations with the purpose of bringing their cultures to the world stage.
This year, the event will take place from September 13th to November 10th under the title: Weather Permitting. According to the organizers, this is an invitation to reflect on when, how, and why certain values, ideas and works of art gain or lack visibility and praise at any given time. The cornerstone of this ninth edition is twofold: Portals, Forecasts and Islets, covers historical, current and unreleased artworks, including commissioned projects, performances and projections; the second is an initiative titled Encounters on the Island, which involves field research, discussion panels and an online publication. Another valuable program, Training Networks, establishes a close connection between the arts and the classrooms through a pedagogical project for teachers and mediators. In addition, it will offer workshops, residencies and lectures for the general public.
Sofía Hernández Chong.
One of the core values of this edition is to focus on the interaction between nature and culture, as well the exploration of the ways in which artists address unknown, unpredictable and seemingly uncontrollable phenomena. According to its Chief Executive Officer, the Mexican curator Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, the objective of the biennial is to identify and give new meaning to belief systems around experimentation and innovation, addressing topics such as discovery, sustainability and entropy.
There is an impressive list of participating artists, which includes Spanish names like Sara Ramo from Madrid or Barcelona’s Daniel Steegmann, both currently residing in Brazil. The country with more artists on view is Brazil (16), followed by United States (7), Argentina (5), Mexico and United Kingdom (4), Peru (3), and Colombia, Cuba and France (2). One participating artist has been selected from the following countries: Germany, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Greece, the Netherlands, Philippines, Lebanon, Lithuania, Russia, Switzerland, Thailand, Uruguay and Venezuela.
If an event includes an educational plan that integrates art in the classroom, if it transcends its geographic space, and furthermore, becomes a choir of different and enriching voices, undoubtedly, it will result in an appealing and memorable experience. This is the new model that the Mercosur Biennial guarantees in its ninth edition. ■