The 13th edition of the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre

Ricardo Braescher,

Porto Alegre, Brasile,


Exhibition, Event,

The 13th Mercosul Biennial in the city of Porto Alegre, in Brazil, explores the theme Trauma, Dream and Escape, in its first in-person edition in four years. The Biennial is curated by Marcello Dantas, together with the assistant curators, Carollina Lauriano, Laura Cattani, Munir Klamt and Tarsila Riso, and demonstrates the power of art to help overcome crises.

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The 13th edition of the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre, the capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, celebrated its 250 year anniversary this year. With an estimated population of more than 1.5 million inhabitants, it is one of the largest cities in Brazil and an important economic and cultural centre in the southern part of the country.
This year, the big artistic event, the Mercosul Biennial, now in its 13th edition, has returned to Porto Alegre with a full celebration, in other words with the opportunity to see the various exhibitions in person. And it is no coincidence that the theme of this edition alludes to our experiences during the pandemic and to the strong desire spend time together again. Elements that clearly emerge in part of the works created by 100 artists from over 20 countries, exhibited in different places in the city and that we can admire in the photos shared with us by the well-known photographer Ricardo Braescher, who lives and works in Porto Alegre.
With a focus on the theme of Trauma, Dream and Escape, this Biennial offers visitors an immersive experience through all the senses and perceptions, thanks to the works exhibited at the Rio Grande do Sul-MARGS, the Memorial do Rio Grande do Sul, the Farol Santander Porto Alegre, the Cais do Porto, the Casa de Cultura Mario Quintana, the Fundação Iberê Camargo, the Instituto Ling, the Casa da Ospa (Fronteiras do Pensamento) and the Instituto Caldeira. This edition also features a new urban art itinerary in the city centre area.
The theme of this edition recognises traumas – both individual and collective – as the greatest driving force for art and sees dreams as an escape strategy. Thus, collective traumatic experience, as in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic, drives artistic creation into a new territory. As the curators write in the press release of the event: "The impact on the shared imaginary through the activation of the oneiric, of dreams and deliriums, opens doors to an escape from a condition imposed upon all of us."
In this sense, one of the most interesting aspects of the 13th Mercosul Biennial is the objective to offer an experience of art and new technologies, emphasising the strong interaction between the various fields. An Open Call was thus already launched in 2021, receiving more than 880 artistic proposals from 22 countries, including Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico, the United States, Slovenia and Germany. The committee chose 18 artists and collectives for the Transe [Trance] exhibition at the city's new cultural space, the Instituto Caldeira. Of the projects selected by the curators, 15 are Brazilian, while another four are artists or collectives from Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Bolivia and the United States, exploring and investigating new technologies, languages and materials, in addition to revisiting traditional knowledge and techniques. As the lead curator of the Biennial, Marcello Dantas, an interdisciplinary creator, tells us in this regard: "in addition to the high quality of the proposals we received, it was surprising to find projects that proved to be consistent and quite innovative, relating art to biology and other organic elements."
The 13th Mercosul Biennial is curated by Marcello Dantas, with assistant curators Carollina Lauriano, Laura Cattani, Munir Klamt and Tarsila Riso, while Germana Konrath is the curator for aspects related to education. The president of the Mercosul Biennial is Carmen Ferrão. The multi-site event, started on September 15 and will last until November 20. All exhibitions are open to the public free of charge, making it possible to reach a large number of people. Because art is an indispensable tool that can help heal our collective traumas, from the pandemic to the climate emergency, from wars to private problems.

Christiane Bürklein

Mercosul Biennial
from September 15 to November 20, 2022
Multi-site exhibitions in Porto Alegre, Brazil
Photos: Ricardo Braescher
Find out more: https://en.bienalmercosul.art.br/