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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Luis Camnitzer

At some unfortunate moment in history some

philistine or group of philistines in a position

of power decided to separate art from education

and relegate it from its position in the

metadiscipline of knowledge to the discipline

and craft where it is today. In this way they

gradually managed to concentrate the emphasis

of art activity into the production of objects,

which society would divide between some few

makers and many buyers, and lead art in schools

to be considered as an expendable luxury

entertainment instead of remaining as a way of


The “biennial” format, together with the art

salon and the more recent and less hypocritical

“art fair” have grown out of these changes. They

are places of national and individual competition

and stimulation of the relative positions of artists

in the marketplace. It is therefore paradoxical

that one of these biennials, the Mercosul

Biennial, should turn its back on this

configuration and appear on the map as an

“educational biennial”, as a biennial that claims

to concentrate on the educational function of

art above the idea of some kind of commercial

championship. It is thus the first time that an

international art biennial has tried to transcend

its own vocation for exhibition and transform

itself into an instrument radically dedicated to

cultural change.

Aligned with this decision, the curators have

redesigned the structure of the Biennial to

highlight the relationship between the artist and

the public, to involve the visitor in the artist’s

creative process, to allow the consumer to be

equipped as a creator; in other words, to return to

restoring art as a methodology of knowledge. We

want the emphasis of the exhibition not to stop

at displaying the abilities of the artist, but rather

to stimulate the abilities of the visitor. This task in

turn stimulates our abilities as artists much more

than the traditional self-obsession could.

However, it would be ingenuous and

presumptuous to imagine that one 6 th Mercosul

Biennial could achieve all this. We can only hope

to create a model that will slowly fertilise the

ground so that, many generations later, a deep

revision in the social function of art is achieved.

We do not presently know whether the model

we are suggesting has any possibility of the

slightest success in what it proposes. It will

probably result in not being the appropriate

model and will end up as nothing more than a

small exploratory experiment with possible

models. At present we only know that a problem

exists that is apparent in several fields and which

it is necessary to try to resolve.

The model for the first five Mercosul Biennials

was the same as all traditional biennials. A chief

curator was contracted with a team of assistants,

and together they shaped a curatorial vision, a

selection of works and their distribution through

the exhibition spaces. Thus they fulfilled the

objective considered the most important, creating


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