Brazil’s Ministry of Culture, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo have selected the duo Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca to present work in the nation’s pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, who organized this year’s edition of the Bienal de São Paulo, will curate their pavilion.
Wagner & de Burca, who are both based in Recife, Brazil, frequently address how traditional art forms are reinterpreted over time. Their photographs and films have explored the boundary between documentary between fiction, the role performance plays in daily life, and the translation of ideas and styles across cultures. A recent show of theirs at Fortes d’Aloia & Gabriel in São Paulo took as its jumping-off point the movement RISE, which relies on spoken-word performances and has been used in Canada to educate marginalized youths.
In a statement, Pérez-Barreiro said, “Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca bring a critical and simultaneously comprehensive view to the enormous plurality of the current moment, pointing to the way in which popular culture absorbs and interprets the images and phenomena of everyday life and the mass media, incorporating them to their own reality.”
Past artists to have represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale include Cinthia Marcelle (2017); Antonio Manuel, Berna Reale, and André Komatsu (2015); and Hélio Fervenza, Odires Mlászho, Lygia Clark, Max Bill, and Bruno Munari (2013).