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UAL Research Online

The Bienal de São Paulo: Between Nationalism and Internationalism

Asbury, Michael (2006) The Bienal de São Paulo: Between Nationalism and Internationalism. In: Espaço Aberto/ Espaço Fechado: Sites for Sculpture in Modern Brazil. The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, pp. 72-83. ISBN 1900081997

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Asbury, Michael

This paper is one of various outcomes of my ongoing research on the development of modern and contemporary art in Brazil. The research focuses on the articulation of national themes with the Western canon of art.

The essay traces the ideological and institutional controversies that such a shift entailed, questioning the understanding that the national constructivist movements were nothing more than the product of an imported aesthetic. It investigates the political motivations and controversies behind the establishment of the first edition of the São Paulo Bienial in 1951, which set in motion a powerful re-evaluative shift within the Brazilian national production of modern art. That Biennial is at the origin of the neo-constructivist movements in Brazil that would play such a significant emancipatory role within the national artistic production. Such movements dismantled the emphasis hitherto on popular-nationalism that remained a social product of the colonial legacy of the coffee oligarchies, and that paradoxically relied on the aesthetics and ideology of social realism. They inaugurated a new phase of national identity, one that was inextricably connected with the faith in the modern destiny of the nation. The unprecedented wave of institutionalisation through associations with modernity connects the Biennial with the inauguration of Brasilia (the new capital of the nation) in 1960 through the architecture of Oscar Niemeyer. The fact that these cultural drives were indeed interconnected opens the possibility of new fields of investigation bringing new complexities to movements that have so far been disseminated internationally along the lines of contained art historical movements.

Official Website: http://www.henry-moore-fdn.co.uk/hmf/shop/hmi-publications/119-espaco-abertoespaco-fechado
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Current Research

My research contributes to the ongoing debate on strategies for rewriting the history of so-called 'peripheral cultures'. Recent debate on curatorial practice for example, has focused on the problems that exhibitions have in escaping the essentialising processes that they have traditionally imposed upon other national creative productions. On the one hand, such a focus has been a positive consequence of the emergence of such issues within the academic field of cultural, historical and postcolonial studies. On the other hand, the increased attention to such histories and practices has also brought with it attitudes towards display that inscribe themselves within a 'rhetoric of universal inclusion': a 'politically correct' move that promotes the ideal of multiculturalism by maintaining such production isolated in its difference. The strategy I have adopted as both curator and art historian operates within the context of both national and international modern art movements. Its methodology is based on the investigation of shifts in the interpretation and presentation of both visual and written work. This generally includes comparative enquiries into the work's reception inside and outside national borders. The intention is to create a platform for an art historical discussion that incorporates international cultural phenomena without dismissing the particularities of local histories

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: The Henry Moore Institute
Your affiliations with UAL: Research Centres/Networks > Transnational Art Identity and Nation (TrAIN)
Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: 2006
Related Websites: http://www.transnational.org.uk/
Related Websites:
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2009 12:58
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2014 15:13
Item ID: 786
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/786

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