An anthropologist, an artist, a museum director, and a curator will work together to organize the 2023 edition of the Bienal de São Paulo, Latin America’s biggest biennial.
Those figures are Hélio Menezes, Grada Kilomba, Manuel Borja-Villel, and Diane Lima, respectively, and they will work collaboratively in a “decentralized manner,” according to the Brazilian biennial’s announcement on Tuesday. Typically, the Bienal de São Paulo is organized by a team led by a chief curator, as is the case with most other international biennials. This collective mode will call on the organizers to work in a different way.
Borja-Villel is director of the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, where he has drawn praise for developing a program that has added new figures to art history while eschewing the blockbuster exhibition format that is dominant in many other museums of its caliber. Before taking his post in Madrid, he was head of the Museu d’Art Contemporani di Barcelona.
Kilomba is an artist whose research-based practice has dealt with the aftereffects of colonialism. Her work previously figured in the 2016 edition of the Bienal de São Paulo.
Lima is an independent curator who recently organized a Paulo Nazareth retrospective set to open later this month at the São Paulo’s Pivô art space. She is currently on the curatorial committee of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo.
Menezes worked for three years as curator of contemporary art at Centro Cultural São Paulo and gained attention as a co-curator of “Afro-Atlantic Histories,” a 2018 survey about art and the transatlantic slave trade that debuted at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo and will make its way to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. next month. He is known in São Paulo for uplifting Black perspectives.
José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, an ARTnews Top 200 collector who serves as president of the foundation that facilitates the biennial, said in a statement, “The curatorial team was formed following a joint proposal which captivated us for being ambitious and intriguing.”