São Paulo, Brazil : 25 September – 12 December 2010
Official Website: http://www.29bienal.org.br
Title: Há sempre um copo de mar para um homem navegar (There is always a cup of sea to sail in)
The title “There is always a cup of sea to sail in” was inspired by a line by the poet Jorge de Lima (1895 – 1953) in his work Invenção de Orfeu (1952). The concept of this year’s São Paulo Biennial is based on the notion that it is impossible to separate art from politics. Art, through ways of its own, is “capable of blocking the sensorial coordinates through which we understand and inhabit the world by bringing into it themes and attitudes that did not previously fit in, thus making it different and wider.”
Guggenheim Museum, New York
Part I: March 26–September 6, 2010
Part II: June 4–September 1, 2010
Much of contemporary photography and video seems haunted by the past, by the history of art, by apparitions that are reanimated in reproductive mediums, live performance, and the virtual world. By using dated, passé, or quasi-extinct stylistic devices, subject matter, and technologies, such art embodies a longing for an otherwise unrecuperable past.
Autel de Lycee Chases, 1986-87
From March 26 to September 6, 2010, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Haunted: Contemporary Photography/Video/Performance, an exhibition that documents this obsession, examining myriad ways photographic imagery is incorporated into recent practice. Drawn largely from the Guggenheim’s extensive photography and video collections, Haunted features some 100 works by nearly 60 artists, including many recent acquisitions that will be on view at the museum for the first time. The exhibition is installed throughout the rotunda and its spiraling ramps, with two additional galleries on view from June 4 to September 1, featuring works by two pairs of artists to complete Haunted’s presentation.
The Pharos Centre for Contemporary Art is pleased to present works by artist Rosângela Rennó in an exhibition titled Ring. The exhibition is part of the Brazilian Culture Month 2009, which is organised by the Pharos Arts Foundation in cooperation with the Brazilian Embassy in Cyprus. The opening will take place on Monday 23 November at 8pm.
Rosângela Rennó’s work is predominantly photography based, although she rarely takes photographs of her subjects, instead, she recasts and transforms appropriated photographic images. In the past she has presented anonymous portraits compiled from existing photographs – photographers’ studios and even photographs of prisoners’ tattoos. Whilst she finds novel and often politically charged ways of presenting the images, her work is also profoundly humane, as the viewer finds themselves imagining other people’s lives, particularly those who are marginalized or unacknowledged.
“Phantasmagoria: Specters of Absence” at USC’s Fisher Museum of Art presents the work of a dozen international artists who explore such fundamental mysteries using the substances so often associated with them: light, shadow and atmosphere.
Overall, it’s a relatively tight show — physically involving, emotionally absorbing and conceptually sound. Each artist is represented by a single work, dating from the 1980s to the present, but all have demonstrated over time a broader, deeper engagement with the issues at hand. No artistic integrity was sacrificed in the name of thematic consistency — and that’s one of the show’s most impressive absences.
Alineto (Breath), 2002
The spectacles range in intensity from whispers to roars. One of the quietest works, the Colombian Oscar Munoz’s “Aliento (Breath),” is also one of the most poignant. Five mirrored discs hang at eye level and bear no image but the viewer’s own reflection until breathed upon. Condensation causes another face to emerge, a small photographic portrait of a deceased man or woman, there only briefly, then once again submerged within the disc’s glossy surface. The faces’ anonymity and the brevity of their appearance act as powerful metaphors for our transient condition, our lives as fleeting as a single breath.
Munoz’s delicate act of breathing life into vanished souls competes with the foggy extravaganza of a neighboring installation. Danish artist Jeppe Hein’s “Smoking Bench” blankets you with vaporous plumes when you sit on it. A nearby mirror allows you the pleasure of watching yourself momentarily vanish, a gimmicky but amusing smoke-and-mirrors illusion.
Aire (Air), 2002
Vapors are central to several other works in the show. Five portable humidifiers in Teresa Margolles’ “Aire (Air)” emit gentle streams of air moistened, in part, by water that was used to clean corpses in a Mexican morgue. The notion is stirring, but the piece is otherwise mute.
Experiencing Cinema, 2004
In “Experiencing Cinema,” a better use of atmospherics, Brazilian Rosangela Renno revives an early 19th century phantasmagoria practice of projecting still pictures onto veils of smoke. Photographs, gathered from found family albums, cohere briefly on the smoke screen; then both image and screen dissipate, mortality again provocatively aligned with ephemerality.
The evocative power of shadows and reflections dominates the remaining works. Christian Boltanski’s orbiting dancer, seen in shadow through a partly opened door, is mildly intriguing for its calculated elusiveness. In Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s installation, the movement of viewers triggers the brightness of a row of low-hanging incandescent bulbs, creating a play of overlapping shadows on the opposite wall, but the effort amounts to little. Regina Silveira’s perspectively distorted shadow of a reader (in vinyl, adhered to wall and floor) holding an actual book, feels slight, as if it ought to be part of a larger installation.
Jim Campbell layers a photogravure over a grid of programmed LED lights to create an image of shadowy figures moving up and down the steps of the New York Public Library. Human presence appears as shifting, translucent gray washes across the fixed stone edifice, resulting in a lovely meditation on time, endurance and transience.