Espaços institucionais: cantos [Institutional Spaces: Corners], 2018 performance recorded at A Gentil Carioca gallery, Rio de Janeiro (Image credit: Courtesy of the artists)
Choreographies of the Impossible
Sep 6 – Dec 10, 2023
São Paulo Biennial 2023
São Paulo, Brazil

The idea of forming a group with a horizontal structure without the figure of a chief curator was suggested by the team of curators and is central to their project for the 35th Bienal. Diane Lima is an independent curator, writer and researcher; Grada Kilomba, an interdisciplinary artist, writer and academic; Hélio Menezes is a curator, anthropologist and researcher; and Manuel Borja-Villel is a researcher and art historian.

How can bodies in movement be able to choreograph the possible, within the impossible? The proposal for the 35th Bienal de São Paulo emerges as a mutual project around multiple possibilities to choreograph the impossible. As the title already suggests, it is an invitation to radical imaginations about the unknown, or even about what figures as im/possible.

We employ the term choreography to highlight the practice of drawing sequences of movements across time and space, generating multiple and new fractions, forms, images and possibilities, despite all the infeasibility and denial. We are interested in the rhythms, tools, strategies, and technologies, as well as in all symbolic, economic and juridical procedures that extra-disciplinary knowledges are able to promote, producing thus the flight, the refusal and their poetic exercises.

Here we present the impossible indefinitely, for we comprehend that its generative violence also goes beyond what we can imagine. They are often immeasurable, indescribable and unimaginable. We are concerned, therefore, about describing, without reenacting.

And so the choreography rehearsal begins.

As a curatorial proposal, choreographies of the impossible enunciates a space of experimentation – open to the dances of the unimaginable – that embodies movements capable of transforming what is apparently non-existent into existent. This idea of a choreography is based on the enigmatic nature of the artistic fact and, thus, on everything that is neither worn out nor evident, but rather on what can be named as secret, mystery or as the infinite itself. These are resilient elements, and therefore elements of rupture, of an attempt at freedom, consequently.

The curatorial team (in alphabetical order) is composed of Diane Lima, Grada Kilomba, Hélio Menezes and Manuel Borja-Villel. Our team is a collective, acting horizontally, in a counter-dance. For us, the choreographies begin with our practice, whose principle is the attempt to dismantle hierarchies, ethical and normative procedures that enact the institutional devices’ vertical power, value and violence structures – which, as we all know, the world no longer supports.

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