Vista desde la desembocadura del arroyo Ugarteche en la costa, de Luisa Lerman

BIENALSUR inaugurates seven exhibitions at the MUNTREF Immigrants Hotel Headquarters

Works by the Korean artist Kimsooja, the Swede Peter Johansson, the Argentine Nora Ancarola and the Saudi Muhannad Shono will be presented, in addition to other collective projects such as Between us and the others: TOGETHER APART, The Office of Water and the Amphibious Laboratory of the Rio de la Plata.

BIENALSUR 2021, the international biennial of contemporary art from the south, born at the National University of Tres de Febrero (UNTREF), will inaugurate on September 10 at its KM0, MUNTREF, Immigrant Hotel Headquarters, seven exhibitions with artists and curators from Korea, Argentina, Colombia, Italy, Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, Ecuador, Brazil, Sweden and Saudi Arabia, among other countries. The exhibitions are open to visit until December.

Within the curatorial axis Transits and Migrations, KIMSOOJA BUENOS AIRES. Chapter 1: Kimsooja. The Encounter with the Other, curated by BIENALSUR’s Artistic Director, Diana Wechsler, presents site-specific pieces, video installations and video performance by the Korean artist Kimsooja, who takes on the daily actions of women in Korean society, their objects, uses and customs, with a special emphasis on the practice of sewing. It includes bottaris (a package made up of a colorful blanket that wraps a brief selection of objects that are significant to its owner), a variety of fabrics and various means of transport.

The curatorial text explains that “her body/needle sews spaces and meanings, while she travels through territories with the serene parsimony of the observer in search of an encounter with the other, moving away from the Western performative tradition”.

Some of the works exhibited are To Breathe, Archive of Mind, Bottari: 2021, Thread Routes and A Needle Woman, among others.

Kimsooja’s work seeks to establish links, new meanings and empathize with and in different cultures and societies in which she lives and works. Her career in Buenos Aires is presented in a comprehensive manner, in the form of chapters located in different venues. On September 16, she will present Chapter 2: Kimsooja. Nomad, at the National Museum of Fine Arts, and on September 21 will be the turn for Chapter 3: Kimsooja. An interior experience, at the Korean Cultural Center.

In continuation with the exhibitions at the MUNTREF Immigrants Hotel Headquarters that follow the same axis, Between us and the others: TOGETHER APART, curated by Diana Wechsler, Benedetta Casini (ITA) and Alex Brahim (COL), brings together the works of the MO Collective (COL), Francis Alÿs (BEL/MEX), Daniel Arévalo (COL), Marcos Ávila Forero (FRA), Yosman Botero Gómez (COL), Marcelo Brodsky (ARG), Ivan Candeo (VEN), Antonio Caro (COL), Gabriel Castillo (COL), Sergio “Bayo” Durán (COL), Juan Carvajal Franklin (COL), Raimond Chávez (COL) and Gilda Mantilla (PER), Juan Pablo Echeverri (COL), Alexandra Gelis (VEN) and Jorge Lozano (COL ), Oier Gil (ESP), Núria Güell (ESP), Matteo Guidi & Giuliana Racco (CAN), Angie Jácome (COL), Khaled Jarrar (PSE), Glenda León (CUB), Carmen Ludene (VEN), Esperanza Mayobre ( VEN), Verena Melgarejo Weinandt (DEU-BOL), Daniela Ortiz (PER), Nukanchik People (ECU), Dan Perjovschi (ROU), PSJM (ESP), Adrián Preciado (VEN), Samir Quintero (COL), Lester Rodríguez ( HND), Betsabeé Romero (MEX), Mar ía Ruido (ESP), Avelino Sala (ESP), Slavs and Tatars (POL / IRN), Barthelemy Toguo (CMR) and Wilmer Useche (COL).

TOGETHER APART is a project that BIENALSUR has been working on since 2017 and whose origin is situated in the city of Cúcuta, on the border of Colombia and Venezuela, where dialogue and cultural and knowledge exchanges between both countries are highlighted.

“The convergence of ideas and shared experience lead us to cross borders and display exhibitions in order to share the conditions of migration, the encounter of identities and the configuration of a we-among-others. By way of introduction, a repertoire of radical cartographies reviews the logic of the world. The hot borders –Colombia-Venezuela, Israel-Palestine, Mexico-United States– are present in the room through the perspective of the selected artists. Poetic readings, critical glances and visual reconfigurations are found in this story” (from the curatorial text).

On the other hand, in the gardens of the MUNTREF, the exhibition Kiosk, by the artist Peter Johansson (SWE/DNK) and curated by Benedetta Casini, will be presented.

“It is a site-specific installation inspired by surveillance architecture. Johansson points out the similarity of popular structures with other current uses and performativities, such as those found in food trucks and food kiosks, and triggers reflections on the symbolic value of boxes, the concept of the prefabricated, and the standardization of experiences. The artist modifies the original appearance of the sentry boxes and its the associated functions, to generate new experiences and expectations” (from the curatorial text).

The issue of surveillance also cuts across Panoptic Frontier 601, by Nora Ancarola (ARG), curated by Valentín Roma (ESP).

The work alludes to the research of philosopher Michel Foucault on disciplinary devices from the 16th to the 19th centuries, focusing his attention on three institutions that articulate social indoctrination during modernity: the school, the clinic and the prison. It also refers to the so-called “German house”, an ongoing euphemism for the Gestapo bunker installed at the beginning of the Second World War at a strategic point in Portbou. In addition, it explores the processes of border militarization and the violence instituted by state power against the migrant population, as well as the penalizing archetypes generated from the media, political and legal spheres.

“The exhibition brings together the aforementioned elements in a video installation with projections, light boxes and objects that stage the technical grammar of a visual control system, transferring the experience of the panoptic, the testimonies of those who suffer border harassment, and the images and languages ​​that allow us to understand how surveillance develops in the present, to the protected area of ​​the museum” (from the curatorial text).

Inaugurating the curatorial axis Modes of inhabiting/Ecological Awareness, the exhibition The Office of Water, curated by Sofía Bastidas Vivar (ECU), Sofía Casarín (MEX) and Andrea de la Torre Suárez (MEX), includes the productions of Adrián Balseca (ECU), Tania Candiani (MEX), Carolina Caycedo (COL), the Centro Rural de Arte (ARG), Ramiro Chaves (ARG), Diego Andrés de la Cruz Gaitán (PRI), Jonathas de Andrade (BRA), Peter Fend (USA), Lía García, Canuto Roldán and Arlishan (MEX), Lucía Hinojosa Gaxiola (MEX), David Medina and entre ríos (COL/GBR), Amphibious Laboratory of the Rio de la Plata (ARG), Luisa Lerman (ARG) and Tania Ximena (MEX).

Located in the Museum’s multipurpose room, the exhibition brings together efforts of thought and artistic representation around the relationship we have with water, recognizing it as an indissoluble organism between communities and territories.

“It offers an intervention to the traditional exhibition space, through the simulation of an office which circulates between the darkness of the night and the depth of the waters. The proposal includes archive projects, videos, artistic approaches and processes, incomplete works, as well as a commission of an unpublished virtual work, which moves away from the adult-centered experience and calls for the participation and interaction of children” (from the curatorial text).

Under the same axis and the same theme, Amphibious Laboratory of the Rio de la Plata, curated by Benedetta Casini, includes works by Gabriel Fortunato Chalabe (ARG), Constanza Chiozza (ARG), Martín Flugelman (ARG), Luisa Lerman (ARG), Pedro Luis Magnasco (ARG) and Jorge Nazar (ARG).

“It is an amphibious space installation that collects, exposes and problematizes the relationship of the city with its bodies of water. Piped streams and a denied waterfront show the imposition of cement on the reservoir water. Through the production of artifacts and events, it proposes the construction of an Amphibious Archive that mobilizes and activates thoughts on how to live and transform our anthropized amphibian territory” (from the curatorial text).

Finally, the exhibition Silence Still Speaks to Us, curated by Diana Wechsler, collects the ink and charcoal creations of the artist Muhannad Shono (SAU).

Aníbal Jozami, Rector of UNTREF and General Director of BIENALSUR, and Diana Wechsler, Artistic Director of BIENALSUR, expressed that these inaugurations, which bring together artists from different origins, take place in a very special spot. “The MUNTREF Headquarters at the Immigrants Hotel is the most representative place of the Biennial and that is why we have started the kilometer count from there”, said Jozami.

“It is the KM0 of this project, that was and still is incubated in this space, based on the experience and vocation that we all have to make this experience something shared, in dialogue, and in freedom”, Wechsler added.

The exhibitions are open to visit from Friday the 10th at 2:00 p.m., with prior reservation through the mobile application Museum View MUNTREF or by mail

The biennial of resistance and resilience, as BIENALSUR 2021 has been called, takes place simultaneously in more than 124 venues, 23 countries and 50 cities around the world, from July to December. In the month of September, 29 exhibitions will take place with the participation of around 400 artists, who from the local dialogue with the global in that unique framework that is BIENALSUR.

BIENALSUR now has its online signal BIENALSUR.TV, with free access and with more than 300 hours of exclusive audiovisual content. The platform is a window to the contemporary artistic-cultural scene and contains debates and dialogues with its referents, tours of BIENALSUR exhibitions, the behind-the-scenes of its projects, and reflections of the participating artists and curators. The contents have been curated by Diana Wechsler and produced by UNTREF Media. The public will be able to find high quality audiovisual pieces organized in different categories: Documentaries, Inaugurations, Meetings, Dialogues, Thoughts and Projects.