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The choreographies of the impossible set the scene and unveil their full cast

Architecture project developed for the 35th Bienal de São Paulo by Vão Architecture office. Courtesy of The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo.

The Fundação Bienal de São Paulo announces the full list of 120 participants of the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible, curated by Diane Lima, Grada Kilomba, Hélio Menezes, and Manuel Borja-Villel, and the exhibit and spatial design, developed by the architects of Vão.

Full cast

The announcement of the full list of participants consolidates the curatorial collective’s intensive research on the urgencies of today’s world and unveils the different formats, movements and understandings of the title choreographies of the impossible. With 120 names confirmed, the complete list echoes the voices of diasporas and native peoples, broadening local and international dialogue.

According to the curators: “The participants in this Bienal challenge the impossible in its most varied and incalculable forms. They live in impossible contexts, develop strategies of circumvention, cross limits, and escape from the impossibilities of the world in which they live. They deal with total violence, the impossibility of life in full freedom, inequalities, and their artistic expressions are transformed by the very impossibilities of our time. This Bienal embraces the impossible, the choreographies of the impossible, as a politics of movement and political movements interwoven into artistic expressions. It is an invitation to move among artists who transcend the idea of a progressive, linear, western time. Impossibility is the guiding thread and the main criterion that guides the selection of these participants.”

For José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, president of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, the exhibition represents a new chapter and legacy for the institution. He emphasizes: “The 35th Bienal de São Paulo is a historic milestone that transcends the boundaries of the impossible. We are witnessing the convergence of exceptional artists, transformative ideas, and an incisive dialogue about the urgent issues of our time. This exhibition will become a lasting legacy, inspiring future generations and redefining the boundaries of what is possible in artistic expression.”

The full list of artists can be found here.

The setting for the choreographies of the impossible: architectural design

For the development of the architectural design of the 35th Bienal de São Paulo, the renowned team at Vão was invited. With an outstanding track record, Vão is known for its innovative and award-winning approach in the field of architecture.

The firm’s partners Anna Juni, Enk te Winkel, and Gustavo Delonero are highly regarded for their ability to create spaces that provoke interaction and reflection.

For the design of the 35th Bienal de São Paulo, Vão proposes an innovative look at the choreography of the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, exploring the relationship between the exhibition space and the visitor’s experience. The group took on the challenge of facing the modernist conceptual and structural conventions of the building itself, in order to create a different flow of movement in the relationship between artworks and people.

The architectural design developed by Vão promises to offer a new experience for visitors to the traditional Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion at the 35th Bienal de São Paulo, inviting the public to explore the space in a new way: the central opening of the Bienal Pavilion will be closed for the first time in history.

For the architects, the proposal goes beyond a new look at the iconic Pavilion: “From the very beginning, we sought a design that would place itself between the desire not to re-enact the existing spatial choreography and, at the same time, not to impose a different choreography, totally disconnected from its internal logics. To this end, we would have to dance with the existing and with the available. That is, in addition to the attention given to reusing materials left over from the old exhibitions, we aimed to create spaces from the constructive elements that constitute the Pavilion.”

The Biennial will be taking place from the 6th of September until the 10th of December, 2023. For more information, please visit the 35th Bienal de São Paulo.

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