Arte e Educação - Fundação Bienal do Mercosul

Arte e Educação - Fundação Bienal do Mercosul

Arte e Educação - Fundação Bienal do Mercosul


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Introduction<br />

Luis Camnitzer<br />

At some unfortunate moment in history some<br />

philistine or group of philistines in a position<br />

of power decided to separate art from education<br />

and relegate it from its position in the<br />

metadiscipline of knowledge to the discipline<br />

and craft where it is today. In this way they<br />

gradually managed to concentrate the emphasis<br />

of art activity into the production of objects,<br />

which society would divide between some few<br />

makers and many buyers, and lead art in schools<br />

to be considered as an expendable luxury<br />

entertainment instead of remaining as a way of<br />

thinking.<br />

The “biennial” format, together with the art<br />

salon and the more recent and less hypocritical<br />

“art fair” have grown out of these changes. They<br />

are places of national and individual competition<br />

and stimulation of the relative positions of artists<br />

in the marketplace. It is therefore para<strong>do</strong>xical<br />

that one of these biennials, the <strong>Mercosul</strong><br />

Biennial, should turn its back on this<br />

configuration and appear on the map as an<br />

“educational biennial”, as a biennial that claims<br />

to concentrate on the educational function of<br />

art above the idea of some kind of commercial<br />

championship. It is thus the first time that an<br />

international art biennial has tried to transcend<br />

its own vocation for exhibition and transform<br />

itself into an instrument radically dedicated to<br />

cultural change.<br />

Aligned with this decision, the curators have<br />

redesigned the structure of the Biennial to<br />

highlight the relationship between the artist and<br />

the public, to involve the visitor in the artist’s<br />

creative process, to allow the consumer to be<br />

equipped as a creator; in other words, to return to<br />

restoring art as a metho<strong>do</strong>logy of knowledge. We<br />

want the emphasis of the exhibition not to stop<br />

at displaying the abilities of the artist, but rather<br />

to stimulate the abilities of the visitor. This task in<br />

turn stimulates our abilities as artists much more<br />

than the traditional self-obsession could.<br />

However, it would be ingenuous and<br />

presumptuous to imagine that one 6 th <strong>Mercosul</strong><br />

Biennial could achieve all this. We can only hope<br />

to create a model that will slowly fertilise the<br />

ground so that, many generations later, a deep<br />

revision in the social function of art is achieved.<br />

We <strong>do</strong> not presently know whether the model<br />

we are suggesting has any possibility of the<br />

slightest success in what it proposes. It will<br />

probably result in not being the appropriate<br />

model and will end up as nothing more than a<br />

small exploratory experiment with possible<br />

models. At present we only know that a problem<br />

exists that is apparent in several fields and which<br />

it is necessary to try to resolve.<br />

The model for the first five <strong>Mercosul</strong> Biennials<br />

was the same as all traditional biennials. A chief<br />

curator was contracted with a team of assistants,<br />

and together they shaped a curatorial vision, a<br />

selection of works and their distribution through<br />

the exhibition spaces. Thus they fulfilled the<br />

objective considered the most important, creating<br />


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