The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, which manages Brazil’s participation at the Venice Biennale, has announced the curator and artist for the country’s pavilion at the 2022 edition opening in April. The curator is Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, who was also the main curator for the 34th Bienal de São Paulo, and the artist he selected is Jonathas de Andrade.
De Andrade is known for an expansive body of work that ranges between videos, photographs, and installations, and deals with different histories and legacies of colonialism and slavery in Brazil as well as how they impact national identity and labor practices. His best-known piece is the filmic installation O Peixe (The Fish), which debuted at the 2016 Bienal de São Paulo and was later shown at the New Museum in New York. That piece, which offers no dialogue or text, shows a fisherman in what appears to be a ritual of holding freshly caught fish until their last breath.
He has also had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Power Plant in Toronto, Museo Jumex in Mexico City, and Museu de Arte do Rio in Rio de Janeiro. His work has been included in 2019 Istanbul Biennial, the 2010 Bienal de São Paulo, and other venues.
In a statement, the artist said, “This invitation is a surprise and an honor. Nevertheless, the idea of representing Brazil today, wherever, is a great challenge primarily for the responsibility in the context of the crucial complexities the country is currently facing. Hopefully, art will manage to translate the tangled knot it is to live in our times and will manage to inspire dreams that allow us to untie those knots.”
De Andrade will make a new work for Brazil’s pavilion, which will respond to the theme of the Biennale’s main exhibition, “The Milk of Dreams.” The title for the show, which alludes to a book by the Surrealist painter Leonora Carrington, was chosen by Cecilia Alemani, the exhibition’s curator, who has spoken of the way Carrington “describes a magical world where life is constantly re-envisioned through the prism of imagination, and where everyone can change, be transformed, become something and someone else.”
In a statement, Crivelli Visconti, the Brazilian pavilion’s curator, said of de Andrade, “In his works, the artist seeks the idea of an authentically popular culture, in all the possible senses and intrinsic complexity of this term. He takes the body—mainly the male body—as his guiding axis for dealing with themes such as the world of work and of the worker, along with the identity of the individual in contemporaneity, through metaphors that fluctuate between nostalgia, eroticism and political and historic criticism.”