34th Bienal de São Paulo

Vincent Meessen shows a site-specific installation version of Juste un Mouvement at the 34th Bienal de São Paulo

04/09 – 05/12/2021

Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, Parque Ibirapuera, portão 3, Vila Mariana
São Paulo, Brazil

Free entrance

This installation benefits from the kind support of Fédération Wallonie BruxellesWBI and Flanders State of the Art

Artist and filmmaker Vincent Meessen (1971, Baltimore, USA) combines criticism of colonial models used to write history with an affective attention to certain disruptive actions of the past. While investigating political movements, projects, artworks, and essays that confronted the political and social contradictions of their times, Meessen develops installations, publications, and films that challenge viewers to question the forms of silencing faced by such movements, and about the factors that keep them pertinent, even today.

In a number of his works, the objects of interest are linked to the work of Situationist International, the revolutionary movement (active between 1957 and 1972), which gave rise to an integral criticism of society. Aware that most of the history of that movement concentrates on its supposed French focuscaptained by the figure and writings of Guy Debord, Meessen investigates gaps in that history, such as the existence of situationist direct influence on the African continent and in the Caribbean. It was while researching this area that the artist came across a photograph picturing the young, militant, Senegalese philosopher Omar Blondin Diop reading the last edition of the magazine Internationale Situationniste. This document became the catalyst for the film Juste un Mouvement [Just a Movement], which will be shown at the 34th Bienal, inside the spiral-shaped installation The Sun Will Always Rise.

Omar Blondin Diop’s entered the cinema history with his appearance in the film La Chinoise (1967), by Jean Luc-Godard, where he played himself teaching a class on Marxism and Maoism to a group of young people, who have gathered in an apartment to prepare a transition from student movement into armed action. Meessen appropriates Omar’s participation as an opportunity to revisit a method used by Godard at the time – making a film as a process of registering the making of another film –, moving it to present-day Dakar, Senegal. In this way, he both pays tribute to and criticizes Godard’s 1967 film, inverting its geographical and political focus. In Juste un Mouvement, history and cinema are experienced as one continuous polyphonic movement, replete with spiral overlaps, throughout which a narrative is woven by Omar’s friends and family, reunited today to remember his ideas and attitudes, and to demand the truth about his political imprisonment and death during the government of Léopold Sédar Senghor (poet, advocate of the Négritude movement and the first president of Senegal after the Independence, who ruled a single-party regime from 1960 to 1981).

The 34th Bienal de São Paulo – Faz escuro mas eu canto – lays claim to the right to complexity and opacity, both in expressions of art and culture as well as in the identities of individuals and social groups. The fulcrum of the project – at which multiple situations of encounter are articulated between art and the public – will be the group show that will occupy the Bienal Pavilion. Curated by Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, Paulo Miyada, Carla Zaccagnini, Francesco Stocchi and Ruth Estévez, the show recognizes the urgency of problems that defy life in today’s world, while claiming the need for art as a field of encounter, resistance, rupture and transformation.

While this edition officially started in February 2020, it has since been unfolding in space and time with both physical and online programming. This year’s digital programme (Feb – April, 2021) kicked off with online talks, courses, and studio visits with the participating artists. The physical exhibition Faz Escuro Mas Eu Canto (Though It’s Dark, Still I Sing) will open on September 4th, 2021 at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion in São Paulo.

Participating artists:

Abel Rodríguez

Adrián Balseca

Alfredo Jaar

Alice Shintani

Ana Adamović

Anna-Bella Papp

Antonio Dias

Beatriz Santiago Munõz

Carmela Gross

Carolina Maria de Jesus

Clara Ianni

Daniel de Paula

Deana Lawson

Dirk Braeckman

Edurne Rubio

Eleonora Fabião

Eleonore Koch

Emerson Uýra

Frida Orupabo

Gala Porras-Kim

Giorgio Morandi

Grace Passô

Gustavo Caboco

Hélio Oiticica

Jacqueline Nova

Jaider Esbell

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith

Joan Jonas

Jota Mombaça

Juraci Dórea

Koki Tanaka

Lasar Segall

León Ferrari

Luisa Cunha

Lydia Ourahmane

Lygia Pape

Manthia Diawara

Marinella Senatore

Melvin Moti

Musa Michelle Mattiuzzi

Naomi Rincón Gallardo

Neo Muyanga

Nina Beier

Noa Eshkol

Paulo Nazareth

Philipp Fleischmann

Regina Silveira

Sebastián Calfuqueo Aliste

Sung Tieu

Tony Cokes

Trajal Harrell

Vincent Meessen

Ximena Garrido-Lecca

Yuko Mohri

Zózimo Bulbul

Zina Saro-Wiwa

Curatorial team
Chief curator: Jacopo Crivelli Visconti
Adjunct curator: Paulo Miyada
Guest curators: Carla Zaccagnini, Francesco Stocchi and Ruth Estévez

Read more on the website of the Bienal de São Paulo