• Akram Zaatari
Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright (2010)
    Akram Zaatari
    Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright (2010)

  • Ali Cherri
Un Cercle autour du soleil (2005)
    Ali Cherri
    Un Cercle autour du soleil (2005)

  • Ayrson Heráclito
As Mãos do Epô (2007)
    Ayrson Heráclito
    As Mãos do Epô (2007)

  • Cinthia Marcelle
Cruzada (2010)
    Cinthia Marcelle
    Cruzada (2010)

  • Cristiano Lenhardt
Solenidade de hasteamento da bandeira “ao vivo” (2009)
    Cristiano Lenhardt
    Solenidade de hasteamento da bandeira ao vivo (2009)

  • Eder Santos
Pilgrimage (2010)
    Eder Santos
    Pilgrimage (2010)

  • Tatiana Blass
Metade da fala no chão - Piano Surdo (2010)
    Tatiana Blass
    Metade da fala no chão - Piano Surdo (2010)

Videobrasil Collection at Marker Art Dubai

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posted on 03/05/2015
World-renowned Brazilian and Lebanese contemporary artists were featured in Videobrasil Collection exhibit at leading Middle East art fair

Associação Cultural Videobrasil featured in the Marker 2015 curated section of the Art Dubai fair, with an exclusive selection of artworks from its collection. From March 17 to 21, thirteen pieces by artists from Brazil and Lebanon, shown during the latest editions of the Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, were exhibited as part of the Videobrasil Collection at Marker Art Dubai program. The videos selected for Marker 2015 attest to the relevance of the Festival, the Videobrasil Collection and the artists that have built Videobrasil’s history.

The program included renowned Brazilian artists such as Caetano Dias, Cao Guimarães, Eder Santos, Nuno Ramos, Paulo Climachauska and Tatiana Blass. Promising up-and-coming artists like Cinthia Marcelle and Guilherme Peters were also featured. One day was devoted exclusively to work by prominent Lebanese artists such as Akram Zaatari, Ali Cherri, Mounira Al Solh and Ziad Antar. Lebanon is part of the Festival’s history and has played a key role in Videobrasil’s entry and access to the Middle East, ever since the Festival went global in the 1990s.

In its ninth edition, Art Dubai, the leading art fair in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, turned its attention to productions from Latin America. Curated by Luiza Teixeira de Freitas, Marker 2015 explored the artistic commonalities and connections between Latin America and the Arab World, in view of their shared background in migration and trade.  Videobrasil programming director Thereza Farkas was invited by the curator to design a program for the Art Dubai movie theater. The plan, said de Freitas, was “to look into Videobrasil’s collection and history for bridges (imaginary or otherwise) between the Arab world and Latin America, attempting to find strong, relevant ideas and thoughts within a platform that regards itself as mutual." 

For the first time ever, Marker took a multidisciplinary approach comprising a group exhibit, artists’ books, performance and sound projects, plus the video program built from the Videobrasil Collection at the curator’s invitation. "Since our guiding principle was to create a multidisciplinary program, video could not be left out, and was added to the program via Associação Cultural Videobrasil, which is known to be the leading Latin American platform for this medium,” the curator of this edition explained.

About the artworks and program

Art Dubai’s guests-only opening day, March 17 (Tuesday), featured the medium-length film Iluminai os terreiros (2006), by Eduardo ClimachauskaGustavo Moura and Nuno Ramos. The movie, a clear reference to the song Brasil Pandeiro, by Assis Valente (1911-1958), provides a background for artists and setup teams as they assemble humongous lighting posts and generators on empty tracts of land. In a literal and fleeting way, the mechanisms – turned on during the night and taken apart at dawn – light up the desolate places they were temporarily set up in. Iluminai os terreiros was featured in the 16th Festival, in 2007.

On March 18 (Wednesday, for guests only), three works from the 17th Festival (2011) were featured. Pilgrimage (2010), by Eder Santos, a mainstay of the Festival, is a poetical depiction of the iron ore mining cycle – from its extraction to its loading onto ships. The author of a dense body of work in video and installation, the artist from Belo Horizonte introduces viewers to the mining activities that so defined the history, economy and culture of his native state Minas Gerais. The video Metade da Fala no Chão – Piano Surdo, by Tatiana Blass, is a recording of the namesake action performed at the 29th São Paulo Art Biennial (2010). A pianist plays pieces by Frédéric Chopin while two men pour melted wax into the grand piano. As it cools off and solidifies, the wax throws the piano off key and amalgamates its strings and keys until the instrument finally goes completely mute. Inimigo invisível  (2011), by Guilherme Peters, stages a situation of relentless tension, with no climax or denouement, as a soldier chases down an enemy that never appears. The third presence is that of the cameraman, filming the soldier’s back as he runs across unidentified places. The artist was selected via the open call for the 1st Open Studio Prize. Inimigo invisível was commissioned by Videobrasil and made during a residency at Casa Tomada, in São Paulo.

On March 19 (Thursday), the spotlight turned to Lebanese artists featured in the Videobrasil Collection. Tank You (2007), by Ziad Antar, portrays the chaos that ensues as gas station working hours are reduced due to airstrikes in South Lebanon. Insults, bartering, and quarrels are a common sight throughout the long lines of people seeking fuel. In Rawane’s Song (2006), the winner of the 16th Festival’s New Vectors – Incentive Prize, Mounira Al Solh walks around a messy studio, showing all of the art projects she started working on – but never completed – about the Lebanon War. “I recorded the voices of 100 Lebanese women, each singing part of their favorite songs. Much to my disappointment, none sang a war-related tune.” As she reveals that she was never able to discuss the issue, the Lebanese Civil War is precisely what pops up between the lines. Tomorrow everything will be alright (2010), a video by Akram Zaatari dedicated to French filmmaker Éric Rohmer (1920-2010), tells a story of love, loss and longing that unfolds through a simulated exchange of messages on a typewriter. The narrator then roams the streets of Lebanon, but his love story could well be universal. The piece was shown in the 17th Festival (2011), marking Akram Zaatari’s seventh stint at the event. Un cercle au tour du soleil (2005) reveals the subjective way in which artist Ali Cherri would try to detach himself from the Lebanon War as a child. More than the impact on residents, the video shot in Beirut, 2004, shows the material reflections of war on the city, manifested in its ruins. How does one learn to experience the moments of peace? The work was featured in the 15th Festival (2005) and won the FAAP Digital Arts Prize.

On Friday, March 20, the video program kicked off with As Mãos do Epô (2007), by Bahia’s Ayrson Heráclito, shown during the 17th Festival (2011). Two hands dance on palm oil, in an allusion to the iconography of the Orishas. A widespread item in Afro-Brazilian cuisine and religious rites, palm oil symbolizes the blood of plants and a direct connection with Africa, the Motherland. In Cao Guimarães’ Sin peso (2006), the air that comes out of people’s chests in myriad voices as street trade goes on also causes the colorful awnings to wave at a Mexico City fair. The fabrics undulate at the wind, become translucent in sunlight, and give way to the waving national flag. The piece was featured in the 16th Festival (2007). Cruzada (2010), by Cinthia Marcelle, conjures metaphors for sociocultural clashes by resorting to elements from performance, painting, video art and sound art. Four groups of people, each with specific colors and musical instruments, confront one another before joining in choreography and giving rise to an even more harmonic composition. Cristiano Lenhardt’s Solenidade de hasteamento da bandeira “ao vivo” (2009) documents the raising of a flag that reads “AO VIVO” (LIVE) in various Porto Alegre city squares. Enacted during the 7th Mercosul Biennial (2009), the performance features a band and a military-style ceremony.

Caetano Dias’ film Rabeca (2013) wrapped up the fair and Videobrasil Collection at Marker Art Dubai on Saturday, March 21. The fictional documentary follows a rabeca (fiddle) player across the São Francisco River Basin, across cities like Irecê, Lapão, Xique-Xique, Bom Jesus da Lapa, and Correntina. Age-old habits and the area’s immaterial heritage are highlighted in the piece. Shortlisted for the 18th Festival (2013), the work (courtesy of art gallery Paulo Darzé Galeria de Arte, in Salvador, Brazil) was awarded an Honorable Mention by the jury.

Videobrasil and the Middle East: closer ties

Since 1996, when the Festival welcomed its first entry from a Middle East artist (Zaatari), the growing relevance of Lebanese production to the Festival and the Videobrasil Collection has been crucial in understanding Videobrasil’s insertion in that region. That first time Middle Eastern artists sought out the Festival also prompted Videobrasil to begin conceptualizing its action within the geopolitical South (as opposed to a merely geographical definition). The 14th Festival (2003) signaled a growing connection with the Middle East: the Possible Narratives – Artistic Practices in Lebanon exhibition and video show provided Brazilian audiences with an overview of contemporary Lebanese art, through the works of fifteen artists selected by curators Akram Zaatari and Christine Tohme.

The closer ties between Videobrasil and the Middle East are increasingly notable. The 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil, slated for October 6 to December 6 in São Paulo, has received approximately 120 entries from Middle East artists. In 2014, Solange Farkas, the director of Associação Cultural Videobrasil, attended the eighth edition of the Global Art Forum, sponsored by Art Dubai in Doha, Qatar, where she commented on the importance of having Middle East and North Africa artists participate in the Festival – as a result of Videobrasil’s research and mapping work – and of connections with local organizations. Another recent action saw Farkas serve as guest curator for the 10th Sharjah Biennial (2011), in the United Arab Emirates, with the Visual Utopia exhibit. In 2012, the first edition of the Videobrasil in Context was launched in partnership with the Delfina Foundation (London, UK), active in the MENA region, and Casa Tomada (São Paulo, Brazil), to foster exchange and research into collections, by the artists Claudio Bueno, from Brazil, and Mahmoud Khaled, from Egypt.


Videobrasil Collection at Marker Art Dubai

March 17 (duration: 43’30’’) (invitation only)
Eduardo Climachauska, Gustavo Moura, Nuno Ramos
Iluminai os Terreiros (2006)
video, 43’30”

March 18 (duration: 49’51’’) (invitation only)
Eder Santos
Pilgrimage (2010)
video, 14’13”

Tatiana Blass
Metade da fala no chão – Piano Surdo (2010)
video, 19’20’’

Guilherme Peters
Inimigo Invisível (2011)
video, 15’52”

March 19 (duration: 57’30’’)
Ziad Antar

Tank You (2007)
video, 13’

Mounira Al Solh
Rawane’s Song (2006)
video, 7’11”

Akram Zaatari
Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright (2010)
video, 12’

Ali Cherri
Un Cercle autour du soleil (2005)
video, 15’19”

March 20 (duration: 32’48’’)
Ayrson Heráclito

As Mãos do Epô (2007)
video, 11’11”

Cao Guimarães
Sin Peso (2006)
video, 7’

Cinthia Marcelle
Cruzada (2010)
video, 8’36”

Cristiano Lenhardt
Solenidade de hasteamento da bandeira “ao vivo” (2009)
video, 6’

March 21 (duration: 71’)
Caetano Dias
Rabeca (2013)
video, 71’

Art Dubai 2015
March 17 to 21
Madinat Jumeirah | Al Sufouh Road, Umm Suqeim
Exit 39 (Interchange 4) from Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubai, United Arab Emirates