Akershus Kunstsenter will present the exhibitions ”Tro-pi-cal” and ”Alternative Orders – A Glimpse of Brazilian Art” during the period 31.03 – 06.05.
The two exhibitions focus directly on the art scene in Brazil and includes significant works of some of Brazil’s major artists, from modern and contemporary art. The exhibitions are unique in Norway and curated by Guilherme Bueno, Director of MAC Niteroi museum, and Geir Haraldseth, an independent curator with good knowledge about the Brazilian art scene.
Guilherme Bueno is presenting an exhibition in two parts; one contains selected works from the João Sattamini Collectionfrom Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói. The collection is joined by a screening program curated by Bueno.
Geir Haraldseth’s exhibition ”Tro-pi-cal” invites us to reconsider the stereotypical categorizing of one country’s culture. In addition to one floor in Akershus Kunstsenter, the exhibition will include a mural by the collective assume vivid astro focus, and a concert at the opening night by the band HARIBO.
Why is there an exhibition about Brazil in Lillestrøm? There’s actually quite a few different reasons. The collaboration between MAC Niteroi and Akershus Kunstsenter arose as a result of a long-standing collaboration between the municipality of Niteroi and Akershus County Council. A meeting between the Director of MAC Niteroi and the management of Akershus Art Centre inspired to further cooperation. The collaboration has in this case led to a generous sampling of the museum’s collection that will serve for many as an introduction to Brazilian contemporary art, by legendary names such as Lygia Clarke, Antonio Dias, Anna Bella Geiger, Cildo Meireles and others.
Haraldseth was a resident at a Brazilian residency program, Capacete in Sao Paulo and Rio, in 2009 and has been involved in writing on and exhibiting art from Brazil. The exhibition on the second floor deals with a few of these issues, and expands the roster of artists to an international selection, dealing with how Brazil and notions of identity, fictional or real, are dealt with in an artistic output.
Brazil is, of course, not just noted for its artists, but conjures up images of carnival, football, tropicalia, music, samba, caiprinhas, sun, Ipanema, Copacabana, the Amazon and so on. The large, vast and varied country is also one of the rising economic forces in the world. Brazil is quickly becoming one of Norway’s most important trading partners outside of the European continent. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian State have developed a Brazil-strategy where they point out the central role that Brazil plays in international politics. The rise in business opportunities also gives rise to an increased interest in the culture and art of Brazil. If you compare this to other countries experiencing similar growth, such as Russia, India, China and South-Africa, the so-called BRICS countries, you will find that all of these countries have made an impact on the contemporary art market. The privately owned Astrup Fearnely museum of contemporary art in Oslo has for example shown group exhibitions with artists from China (China Power Station, 2007) and India (Indian Highway, 2009) while presenting a large selection of its collection of contemporary art in Sao Paulo (In the name of the artists, 2011). Not all the connections between capital and art are as blatant, but this is something to be aware of, and something the two exhibitions deal with in different ways.
By showing international art on a professional high level, Akershus Kunstsenter challenge ourselves and our local community to reconsider our context and points of view. We refuse to submit to small-town ideas and want these exhibitions to mark our ambition level. We want to produce exhibitions that comment both on the current and the resent past, and hope that our initiative will stimulate to curiosity about Brazil’s art history, Brazil as a country and the ”exotic” as cultural phenomenon.
Akershus Fylkeskommune, Norsk Kulturråd, Skedsmo Kommune, Bykunst.no / Lillestrømbankens fond for kunstnerisk utsmykking, Fritt Ord.
Stills from video. Artist: Ronald Duarte. Title: Fogo Cruzado.
Stills from video. Artists: GRÁFICA UTÓPICA. Title: THE CIRCUS OF DREAMS.