Brazilian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale
The Brazilian Pavilion recontextualizes the country’s activism of the 1960s and ’70s into the fragmented social reality of contemporary Brazil. Titled “So much that it doesn’t fit here,” a reference to slogans from Brazil’s urban protests of 2013, the pavilion presents Antonio Manuel’s work in dialogue with that of much younger artists André Komatsu and Berna Reale.
In the 1970s, Antonio Manuel used personal connections at the Rio de Janeiro newspaper O Dia to publish a series of satirical dailies, dubbed Clandestinas. These interventions interspersed surreal headlines and doctored images with authentic articles curated for their sensationalism. The artist arranged for his Clandestinas to be sold at newsstands, tweaking the daily experience of the city’s denizens living under an oppressive dictatorship.
Manuel represents a generation of Brazilian artists driven by authoritarianism to engage with themes of violence, instability, and the body. Though younger, André Komatsu and Berna Reale both make work that harkens back to Manuel’s chosen motifs . São Paulo-born Komatsu makes readymade sculptures from the detritus of late capitalism: broken bricks and cinder blocks; spilled paint and abandoned walls; power tools frozen in the act of demolition. Unlike the city-dwelling Manuel and Komatsu, Reale comes from the more remote northern state of Pará, where she maintains an alternate career as a criminal expert. Her professional experience informs her performances and installations, which use disruptive presentation of the body to address the issues of criminality, violence, and social heterogeneity endemic to contemporary Brazilian society.