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Clockwise, left to right: Manuel Borja-Villel, Grada Kilomba, Diane Lima, and Hélio Menezes.
Clockwise, left to right: Manuel Borja-Villel, Grada Kilomba, Diane Lima, and Hélio Menezes.

Curatorial Team Revealed for 35th Bienal de São Paulo

The Fundação Bienal, which organizes the São Paulo Bienal, has announced that Manuel Borja-Villel, Grada Kilomba, Diane Lima, and Hélio Menezes will cocurate the thirty-fifth iteration of the event. Each brings something different to the table: Borja-Villel, who lives in Madrid, is an art historian and the director since 2008 of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The Berlin-based Kilomba is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and theorist whose work takes as its subject memory, trauma, gender, and postcolonialism. Lima, an independent curator, writer, and researcher, splits her time between Salvador and São Paulo, where she is currently serving on the curatorial committee for a new long-term exhibition at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo. Menezes is an anthropologist, critic, and researcher living in São Paulo; formerly a curator of contemporary art at Centro Cultural São Paulo, he works at the Universidade de São Paulo and is an affiliated scholar at the Brazil Lab at Princeton University.

“The collective talents of these individuals have the potential to generate fantastic results,” said Fundação Bienal president José Olympio da Veiga Pereira, further noting that “the curatorial team was formed following a joint proposal which captivated us for being ambitious and intriguing.”

José Olympio revealed that the decentralized leadership structure was suggested by the team themselves, and that the “horizontal relationship” between curators “will be an integral part of the project” for the Bienal. This is not the first time the Bienal has embraced a multifaceted curatorial approach. The 1989, 2010, and 2014 editions of the event were collectively organized as well.

Presenting themselves in the press release announcing their roles, the four curators declined to provide their ages or nationalities; the Fundação Bienal acknowledged that the Bienal itself will be shaped in accordance with a similar framework.