The traveling program of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo – Though it's dark, still I sing will open in Fortaleza on September 6, 2022, at the Espaço Cultural Unifor. The exhibition will be shown in the city until December 4 and was made possible through a partnership between the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo and the Fundação Edson Queiroz, from the state of Ceará.
The exhibition is organized around three statements: Tikmũ’ũn Songs, The Engraved Image of Coatlicue and Hiroshima mon amour by Alain Resnais.
The Tikmũ’ũn, also known as Maxakali, are Indigenous people from the area that today encompasses the Minas Gerais, Bahia, and Espírito Santo states. After countless and recurrent episodes of violence and abuse since colonial times, the Tikmũ’ũn came to the brink of extinction in the 1940s and were forced to abandon their ancestral lands to survive. Songs organize life in the villages, constituting almost an index of all the elements of their daily lives, like plants, animals, places, objects, knowledge, and of their rich cosmology. At the traveling exhibition of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo, the artworks gathered around this statement have among their triggers the need of environmental preservation and the safeguard of cultures and knowledges that are orally conveyed from generation to generation, such as the Tikmũ’ũn’s songs.
About the statement The Engraved Image of Coatlicue
On August 13, 1790, a group of workers excavating in Mexico City’s Central Plaza discovered a statue the astronomer and anthropologist Antonio de León y Gama identified as Teoyaomiqui. It was, in fact, the goddess Coatlicue, also known as Dama de la Falda de Serpientes [The lady in the snake skirt]. Coatlicue, in Aztec mythology, is the patroness of life and death, mother of Huitzilopochtli – the god of the earth –, and the goddess representing fertility. The statue of Coatlicue was taken to The Royal and Pontifical University of Mexico as a relic of the Mesoamerican past, but, after long discussions, the Spanish authorities decided to bury her again, afraid that the lady in the snake skirt might spark a revolution. In 1804, a curious Alexander von Humboldt asked to see her during his trip to New Spain. According to the chronicles, the German explorer began to draw it without, however, completing the illustration: the university clergymen, perhaps fearing that Coatlicue’s power would become uncontrollable, hid it again underground. Hence, Humboldt had to let his imagination run wild to immortalize Coatlicue’s powerful aura in his sketches.
About the statement Hiroshima mon amour by Alain Resnais
In light of the unspeakable trauma, what can be told by a museum, a monument, a ruin, or a scar? “The reconstructions, for lack of anything else,” “The explanations, for lack of anything else,” “The photographs, for lack of anything else,” says the (French) protagonist of Hiroshima mon amour, Elle, in the opening scene of the classic film directed by Alain Resnais in 1959. Elle is referring to what she found in Hiroshima nearly fifteen years after the bombing that killed more than 160 thousand people, but could also be talking about what would be found by anyone who visits the ruins of Nazi concentration camps, or even the museums full of the plunder of colonization. But no. The objects, the photographs, the explanations, the reconstructions are not enough for us to understand. Hiroshima mon amour does not seek to explain nor to reconstruct, but rather to probe the opacity and untranslatability of what has remained as a witness.
At the traveling program of the 34th Bienal de São Paulo, around these two statements are gathered works which dialogue with issues such as alterity and opacity – the latter being a concept by the author Édouard Glissant, one of the theoretical references of this edition of the event.
34th Bienal de São Paulo – Though it's dark still I sing
Traveling exhibition program
Espaço Cultural Unifor – Fortaleza University Campus
September 6 – December 4 2022
av. Washington Soares, 1321
bairro Edson Queiroz
Tuesday to Friday, from 9am to 7pm
saturday and sunday, 10am to 6pm