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Bienal de São Paulo Foundation

Inaugurated in 1954 as part of the celebrations for São Paulo’s 4th Centenary, Ibirapuera Park was designed with the intention of uniting nature and culture in the same public space. The Bienal de São Paulo’s location in a site with such a background, the most widely visited park in São Paulo, and recently voted the best urban park in the world, is without a doubt one of the event’s unique traits.

Ever since the start of the work for the 32nd Bienal – Incerteza viva, the curatorial team has shown interest in strengthening the connection between the Bienal and the park and the people who frequent it. Throughout the year 2016, activities were realized to bring it closer to other institutions based in the park, including actions geared toward the park’s employees and the public, involving the participation of artists. The course for the mediators working at the exhibition also featured activities for exploring the park, as a way of acknowledging its potential as part of the school visiting program to the Bienal.

It is important to emphasize that the exhibition design for the 32nd Bienal was conceived with a garden as its inspiration – a garden in which visitors are invited to different types of experiences, at times with more physical participation and involvement, at others with more contemplation in contact with a large amount of brand new works of art and those commissioned for the exhibition. In addition, some artistic projects occupy areas outside the Bienal Pavilion, establishing a direct dialogue with the park’s public.

The Bienal’s movement toward the setting in which it is installed is accompanied by an increasingly clearer awareness of its history and its role as an institution committed to experimentation on several levels. In recent years, Fundação Bienal’s institutional structure has shifted to an increasingly horizontal management model, with engagement from all the teams who participate in the work flow. Furthermore, we have sought to build our strength as a research institution. Initiated in 2015, the Archives Project has been developing integrated actions to organize, catalogue and make available information on the documentation and events realized by the foundation, promoting qualitative public access to the collections and thus consolidating the Bienal Archive’s role as a center of reference for the research of contemporary art in Brazil and around the world.

The realization of the 32nd Bienal depends on crucial support from the Ministry of Culture and co-realization of Itaú. The Bienal’s Itinerancy Program, made possible thanks to a consolidated cultural partnership with Sesc São Paulo and its extension to Sesc Nacional, will once again allow for the dissemination of the Bienal de São Paulo’s content to other cities in 2017. At a historical moment governed by uncertainty in the most diverse fields, the Bienal believes that contemporary art can contribute, in innovative ways, to opening up possibilities, strategies and models of dialogue for us to face a world in constant change.

Luis Terepins
President of the Bienal de São Paulo Foundation