Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art

26th São Paulo Biennial
25 September - 19 December 2004

São Paulo

26th São Paulo Biennial: Território Livre

Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo

Exhibition venue

Pavilhão Ciccillo Matarazzo

This year's São Paulo Biennial, just as the previous edition, is held under the artistic direction of Alfons Hug. Whereas in 2002 he created a theme of mega-cities and the influence of urban energy currents on art, Hug declared the 26th biennial to be "Free Territory", an "extraterritorial zone where artists erect their utopian settlements."

In his curatorial statement (from which all quotations have been taken), Alfons Hug expresses scepticism regarding the "multiplicity of documentary strategies that has been observed even at major international exhibitions over the last few years." Such "scientific analysis, reportage and discursive treatises on reality" contribute to a "flagrant underestimation of the possibilities of aesthetic processes." He therefore makes a plea for art which "reveals those inner layers of the world that remain hidden to the superficial gaze of politics and sociology."

Regarding his concept of a "Free Territory," Hug writes: "Artists create a power-free zone, a world that runs contrary to the existing one: a land of emptiness, of silence and respite, where the frenzy that surrounds us is brought to a standstill for a moment. But it is also a land of enigmas, where the flood of images surging in on us from the breeding grounds of kitsch are encrypted. By breaking through the barriers of the material world, the artist becomes a smuggler of images between cultures."

135 artists and groups participate in the 26th São Paulo Biennial:

>> Lists of artists

Texts by chief-curator Alfons Hug:

Território Livre
(about the theme of the Biennial)

Image Smugglers
(about the concept of the Biennial)

Território Livre
(extensive essay)

25 September -
19 December 2004

Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Chief curator:
Alfons Hug

Dates and facts
Summary of information

Lists of artists
by exhibitions

Theme: Território Livre

See the texts by chief-curator Alfons Hug:

About the theme

Image Smugglers

Território Livre

Exhibition venue

© Photos: Fundação
Bienal de São Paulo



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São Paulo