Curitiba International Biennial 2013


The Curitiba Biennial celebrates its 20 years in 2013. It takes place in the capital city of Paraná between August 31 and December 1st and exhibits works of 150 artists from the five continents in more than 100 venues around the city.

The exhibition has the general curatorship of art critics Teixeira Coelho (MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo) and Ticio Escobar (Triennial of Chile), proposing a review in the biennial format this year. Hence, they leave aside the traditional option for a theme and a title and rather focus on the choice of works that could represent a significant esthetic experience. In fact, what was considered during the selection of artists was not their possible suitability to a specific theme but rather their quality and contemporaneity.

In this edition, the Curitiba Biennial pays special attention to urban art and performance art that, in addition to being increasingly strong and present in the international scenario, offer a direct and immediate contact with the city users. Literature, web art and music also gained a lot of attention in this event.

The project includes training activities for teachers and students, lectures and roundtables open to the public, distribution of educational material and visitation programs including scheduling of mediated visits of school groups, guidance to families and groups at the exhibition venues.

The adjunct curator Adriana Almada, the associate curator Tereza de Arruda and guest curators Maria Amélia Bulhões, Fernando Ribeiro, Ricardo Corona and Tom Lisboa now join the curatorship. The curatorial coordinator is Stephanie Dahn Batista, who will be in charge of a team of young curators, namely: Angelo Luz, Debora Santiago, Kamilla Nunes and Renan Araujo.

Curatorial Concept

The Curitiba Biennial, in the commemorative edition of its 20 years, reviews the biennial as a format and sets aside the practice of choosing a theme and title as a result of the ascendency of curators over the art system, which is little convincing nowadays. The link between the subject / title and the works presented at any biennial is either tenuous or imaginary, since almost any topic / title, always as a spectacular advertising resource, can be applied to almost any grouping of works. As art works remain and themes / titles are forgotten, this edition of the Curitiba Biennial will focus on the choice of works that might represent a significant esthetic experience to the city. The only criterion for the choice of these works is quality / relevance: they must rely on their own quality and ability to point to some of the many issues of contemporary art. Each work will be its own speech. None will be subject to the curator’s logo.

This time, the Curitiba Biennial aims to leave the city with an art residue that is denser, longer-lasting than usual, through the installation of laboratories for practice and reflection - LARPs – that will seek to understand the stronger elements of the art works selected and transform them into vectors that unfold creation. Teaching institutions and other centers of reflection around the city – schools of art, architecture, communication and research institutes – will have a relevant role in this process.

The Biennial is a format that, as such, contains the general traits that outline the genre to which belong the singular aspects of any of its eventual manifestations. Today the biennial format is an entity in conflict: this edition of the Curitiba Biennial reaffirms the general traits of the biennial format while contradicting them to the extent possible, however without nullifying it. History will do it, if that is the case.

Teixeira Coelho and Ticio Escobar


O signo X

The X sign has various connotations: the interplay among them mobilizes and renews their meanings and enriches their messages.

First, the cross (X) refers to the elimination of modern criticism: Art denial does not mean its destruction, but questioning any fixed meanings. Marking something with X points to the provisional character of any form and meaning.

Second, the X figure suggests a pinwheel (or a reel): a dynamic image moved by the wind, swift and playful.

Finally, the X sign refers not only to a Roman number representing the biennial’s 20 years, but may also be associated with the core sign of aesthetics in the Tupi Guarani proto-Amazon basketry, which is three thousand years old and is still performed even in Guarani cultures: side by side in a sequence around the basket, the X creates triangles and rhombi: the basic elements of the Tupi Guarani iconography.