What if we reversed the classical stance of the right-thinking Westerner visiting the amiable natives somewhere? In her docudrama "Iracema" (de Questembert), specially made for the Biennale, Maria Thereza Alves recounts the ambiguous story of Iracema, a young woman from the isolated Brazilian village of Corubime. Iracema makes the long journey from São Paulo to France, where she learns that she has just inherited her father’s estate. She is now the owner of a vast property which the local authorities would like to buy from her rather than see it in the hands of a "savage". Undaunted, our young heroine fights to keep her property, where she founds the Questembert Institute for Art and Science. She makes speeches at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre and sets about meeting artists and thinkers. In this analysis of France, and of cultural reflexes in general, Maria Thereza Alves takes a look at the positions of strength and weakness resulting from the automatisms that govern Western societies.
With the support of the Villa Medici, Rome.
From 16 September 2009
We are living in the society of the spectacle. In spite of its alienating effects on our life and social relationships, it’s one of the very fundamental conditions of our existence. We perceive the world and communicate with each other through the spectacle – a system of image production and representation dominated by the logic of market capitalism which tends to “develop” our faculties of perception, imagination and reflection towards a “one dimensional model” formatted by the language of consumerist ideology. This is also the very contemporary condition of our self-identification and social order “guaranteed” by the established power system. As a main typology of artistic and cultural events of our time, biennials of contemporary art are no doubt an ultimate form of expression of such a tendency...
The first three Lyon Biennials - in 1991, 1993 and 1995 – were part of a largely historical perspective, from which problematics, stakes and themes were derived. The first one, called “The love of art”, chose to assess the situation of creation in France. Resolutely going against the trend, this biennial noted that since the so-called “Pompidou exhibition” (Paris 1969), no such far-reaching project had been imagined in France.
The European Biennial Network is a collaborative structure that aims to promote dialogue, interaction and collaboration between contemporary art biennials in Europe.
For more information : www.europeanbiennialnetwork.org
The Biennale of Lyon is a Les Biennales de Lyon event