More biennials for visual arts!
Sebastian Lopez (Argentina, 1949) was recently co-curator of the fifth Shanghai Biennial. We asked him whether all these biennials are necessary.
People say there are too many biennials.
'On the contrary. There are not enough! A biennial is about expressing
culture. That is necessary everywhere, all the time. It is important
that the public throughout the entire world come into contact with
art 'live contact. When I was young I travelled to Brazil to attend
the Sao Paulo biennial. To stand face to face with a real painting
by Jackson Pollock made an enormous impression on me. Direct contact
with a work of art is not at all like viewing a reproduction. The
Sao Paolo biennial had an important regional and even continental
Western expressive arts have affected expressive art throughout Latin America. However, the West has always been in denial with reference to art from non-Western countries. This art was therefore invisible for a long time and was said to be subordinate in terms of quality. The Havana biennial was the first place were artists from Latin America, Africa and Asia could be seen together. Because these artists no longer wanted to be considered to be irrelevant, they organised themselves and started to exert cultural pressure. This pressure has caused the West to lose its cultural power; it no longer sets the tone.
I would even assert that what is being made in China these days
is more interesting that what is happening in the Netherlands. Do
not forget that there are now more artists than ever throughout
the world. These artists need a stage. There can never be too many
Interview Magne van den Berg
Sebastian Lopez (Argentina, 1949) is the director of the Gate Foundation Amsterdam, an institute that supports non-Western expressive artists in the Netherlands. Lopez was recently the co-curator of the fifth Shanghai Biennial. He has also been invited to serve as co-curator of the triennial in Luanda (Angola) in 2006. The initiators of this triennial are expressive artists, including Frernando Alvim.