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Event: 26th São Paulo Biennale - Free Territory

Money Net, Cai Guo Qiang, London 2002

The 26th São Paulo Biennale will take place from September 25th to December 19th, 2004 in Park Ibirapuera, an area designed by the Brazilian architect Óscar Niemeyer. 130 artists from 60 different countries will participate in the Biennale, whose main focus will be aesthetics, according to the German curator, Alfons Hug.
The concept was inspired by the topic of free territory, which will be explored on three levels: physical-geographical (investigating non-inhabited space), social-political (examining the concepts of borders, territory and power) and the aesthetical (the domain where artists can reflect on space and different realities, thereby creating a free territory and defining territories and boundaries).
On an international level, painting will feature strongly in the Biennale, through the work of Belgian artist Luc Tuymans and Austrian artists Markus Muntean and Lois Renner. Photography will also be one of the highlights, with German artist, Thomas Struth and Hungarian, Peter Szarca showing their work. There is also an impressive number of young Brazilian artists participating in the Biennale for the first time, who will mainly be showing sculpture and installations. This work, according to the curator, represents the best of Brazil’s contemporary art production. Among those worth mentioning is Brazilian Ivens Machado, a figure-head for contemporary Brazilian art and Chelpa Ferro, a group from Rio de Janeiro, who are still remembered for their sound performance, which almost caused a car crash at the inauguration of last São Paulo Biennale.
Three Brazilian artists will exhibit their work in the special halls: Artur Barrio (installation) Beatriz Milhazes (painting) and Paulo Bruscky (installation). There will also be an exhibition dedicated to Candido Portinari to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. These shows will open the inauguration and the first week of the Biennale. Chinese artist Cai Guo Qiang plans to burn a nine meter high tower covered in gunpowder inside the Biennale building while the Portuguese choreographer Vera Mantero and sculptor Rui Chafes show their performance Comer o coração.
After showing in São Paulo, part of the Biennale will go to Brasília, Curitiba, Macéo, and then continue on tour through Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Santiago de Chile.

Text: Laura Cristóvão
Translation: Katerina Valdivia Bruch

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