São Paulo

the 29th São Paulo Bienal

Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, Ibirapuera Park

SOME THREE DECADES AGO, writing in the context of Transavanguardia’s emergence on the global scene, Jean-François Lyotard famously railed against a “period of slackening” in art typified by what he deemed a kind of realism: work that adhered precisely to our expectations for it, neatly aligning with the aesthetic demands set by institutional frameworks and categories that would circulate and distribute it—or, for that matter, render it legible as “work” in the first place. Arguably, we are in a similar period of artistic repose—but we also seem to be witnessing an increasing desire among certain artists and critics to turn the page on techniques and strategies that have become agents of the homogeneity they initially sought to shatter. Art historian Kelly Baum put it succinctly in her response to last year’s October questionnaire surveying the contemporary field, when—looking at efforts

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