Starting this Wednesday, August 4, at 11:00 a.m., the Fourth Biennial Of The South: Peoples in Resistance will open its digital and virtual doors with the participation of 52 Venezuelan artists and visiting artists from 25 countries and four continents.
The announcement was made by the Executive Director of the Institute of Visual and Spatial Arts (IARTES) and President of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oscar Sotillo Meneses, during an interview on the program Punto de Encuentro [meeting point] broadcast by Venezolana de Televisión (VTV).
The Bienal del Sur (Biennial Of The South) cultural festival is organized by Venezuela and presented this year within the scope of activities to commemorate the bicentennial of the Battle of Carabobo.
Regarding the local contributors, more than 180 national artists contributed and 52 were selected, Sotillo said.
The international artists that will participate are from Cuba, Barbados, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Philippines, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Algeria, Egypt, Togo, Tunisia, Cyprus, and Germany, detailed Sotillo Meneses.
“This is the fourth edition of this event,” added Sotillo, “which has undoubtedly become the most important visual arts event in Venezuela”.
This time, he added, it will have the unique quality of being presented virtually: “this is the first time we are facing a Biennial that is not inside the museum, but instead in space 2.0—on the social media networks, on the web, and on a special webpage that we are going to launch.”
These virtual spaces will host and present all the material of 52 Venezuelan artists, and those from 25 friendly countries from four continents, “who are visiting us for this 4th Biennial, dedicated to the People of Colombia in Resistance,” noted Sotillo.
Sotillo recounted that each Biennial is dedicated to a people, a country, a culture, “and this time we decided to dedicate it to our neighbors, to our Colombian brothers, and to their people in resistance, who are in the streets vindicating justice, fighting for their lives, making their way in history. We have also decided that Colombia will be our guest of honor, to be included in special activities and events related to the theme of the nation of New Granada.”
Regarding access to the virtual space, he explained that “for us it is a great challenge, and also for the artists. Art comes from a great sensory tradition, a tradition of space, of the object. We go to museums and delight ourselves with objects, paintings, and sculptures. How to display artistic works of such diversity, without losing their original meaning, their nature, when they are being shown through a virtual, digital medium, in a medium that is driven by light, is a complex challenge.”
The IARTES executive director pointed out that the presence and the space of the museum will be lost, but “we moved to a web page, www.bienaldelsur.gob.ve, that will go online next Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., and that will open its digital, virtual door, so that all these artists of the world can get together with the Venezuelans who are participating this year.”
He recalled that so far three biennials exhibitions have been held in museums, and have also toured: “The Third Biennial of the South was inaugurated at the Jesus Soto Museum in Ciudad Bolívar, and due to the pandemic could not be opened in Caracas; the second was in Caracas at the Armando Reveron Museum of Contemporary Art; and the first was held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas. For this Fourth Biennial, the artists knew what they would be facing from the moment we sent out the call.”
The virtual exhibition process, said Sotillo Meneses, starts on August 4 and ends on November 28. During three months on the air there will be a number of interactive events held. “We have an intensive professional program in which artists, curators, and people related to the arts will get together in a series of workshops, forums, lectures, and discussions, all virtually.”
When asked how the public can register, he specified that the entire program is being promoted through the social media networks of IARTES and the Biennial of the South, and once the page opens, the entire schedule will be posted for each day between the August 4 opening and November.
All the activities are free of charge, from the masters of the arts, the guests of honor, and all the artists participating in the exhibit, and all the artists of the world selected for this initiative of Venezuela.
Despite the economic blockade and the pandemic, added Sotillo Meneses, “we have come away with the experience of receiving an overview of what is happening artistically in Venezuela, and we are left with a reading of what is happening in the world, with some themes that are repeated beyond the cultural.”
As an example, he cited the fact that there are countries as different as Russia and Peru, Palestine or Brazil, where similar themes are repeated. Sotillo affirmed that many artists are concerned about the same issues, and in some cases they have been grouped together in what are called “dialogues” within the Biennial exhibit.
The president of the Museum of Contemporary Art also added that this year the dialogue about the pandemic was included, because there are many artists talking and working on this topic, this current situation, “and we took it as an important element for people to see it, and for there to be a lot of artistic and conceptual reflection on the topic we’ve had to live with in recent times.”
This edition includes five such thematic groupings: Dialogue of Transformation, Dialogue of the Body, Dialogue of Identity, Dialogues of the Earth, and Dialogues of Quarantine.
As for the teachings that each Biennial leaves us with, commented Sotillo Meneses, the experience of seeing how art responds, “what panorama we have in Venezuela, who follows our calls, how many artists—how many women, how many men, from which state—gives us a very tangible reading of our territory from the cultural point of view.”
Finally, he thanked all his team, and all those who participated in the exhibit, for their great effort and contributions, which promise to produce a memorable cultural event.
Featured image: Bienal del Sur/Biennial of the South: Peoples in Resistance 2021 poster. File Photo.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune