Pablo Rasgado

11th Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial


With the title The Atlantic Triangle, the 11th Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial intents to shed light onto the triangle that, for over 500 years, connects the destinies of America, Africa, and Europe.

Bringing together 70 artists and artist collectives – as well as punctual actions performed in Quilombocommunities located in the cities of Porto Alegre and Pelotas –, the exhibition occurs from April 6 to June 3, 2018, in the spaces of the Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul [Rio Grande do Sul Art Museum], Memorial do Rio Grande do Sul [Rio Grande do Sul Memorial], Praça da Alfândega [“Customs” Public Square], and Igreja Nossa Senhora das Dores [Our Lady of Sorrows Church], all within the historic district of Porto Alegre.

Based on the historic references postulated during the exhibition’s production, the project features works and artists from the three continents that compose the Atlantic Triangle. Making these artists the protagonists of an exploration of cultural relations and the interdependency within such a triangulation, the exhibition seeks, among other issues, to analyze what are the innovative forces that mobilize the interaction between America, Africa, and Europe.

Highlighting African and African-Brazilian art – both present in large quantities – the Atlantic Triangle is interested in the contact points that propitiate the encounter between the indigenous, European, and African cultures that form a new American amalgamation.

Being offered, thus, as an opportune visibility experience, under the artistic and cultural perspective of the diaspora (a term that defines displacement, usually forced, of great populational masses coming from a determined area towards several distinct destinations), the 11th Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial also aims to focus on the debate regarding how much the Black Atlantic exodus fed a vigorous process of creolization, which caused an immense transit of religions, languages, technology, art, and culture.

Furthermore, by stating that the cultural diversity of the African people, composed of hundreds of languages and ethnic groups, was as plural as the indigenous one, the exhibition also aims to generate discussion regarding the fact that even after an arduous attempt to erase such cultures, phenomena such as syncretism and miscigenation – albeit being a direct reflex of historic violence – represent cultural resistance and enhancement.

Not seeking immediate answers to the questions that expand beyond the artistic and cultural scopes, the exhibition lines up with debates from the philosophical, political, and anthropo-social fields, by considering that due to the constant influence of other cultures, the triangle fusion course is still far from being complete.

Considering that, in the artistic field – perhaps as in no other terrain of debate –, different conceptions of nature, time, and space keep on changing in a highly dynamic system, the 11th Mercosul Visual Arts Biennial wagers that contemporary art, by focusing on conflicts and disturbances that result from the shock of different civilizations and cultural layers, can also constitute, apart from being a representation of innovative artistic expressions and techniques, a powerful instrument of debate and critique – capable, perhaps, of putting a finger into the wounds opened by the Atlantic Triangle.

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