XXI Cerveira International Art Biennial

The 42 years of the Cerveira International Art Biennial have the Diversity-Research. The Complex Space of Communication Through Art as its leitmotif. The intent is to question culture as a form of knowledge that allows a better quality of life. The event relies on a model that began in 1978, with multiple activities and the participation of different audiences, under great artistic plurality.

António Reis in Poemas Quotidianos (1967): “I shall enter the houses/ as well/ Like the silence”. The XXI Biennial opens its doors, awarding prizes to works made by various artists who reflect on Portuguese culture and contemporaneity. We highlight Alexandre Delmar’s A fala das cabras e dos pastores (2018-19) (Oporto, 1982), a video with a rhythmic montage, where we see and hear shepherds calling their flock, thus creating music patterns, whilst recalling the first scene of the renowned film by António Reis and Margarida Cordeiro Trás-os-Montes (1976). Nelson Miranda (Portugal, 1979) presents Fundação Lar do Emigrante Português no Mundo (2019), a research project on the ruins of the headquarters of the institution mentioned in the title, built during the 80s by a Venezuelan emigrant in the north of the country. The photographs show a site currently abandoned, with traces of the occupation of neo-Nazi groups. It allows one to reflect on emigration, derelict spaces and extreme political-social theories. Finally, Rafael Ibarra (Braga, Portugal) exhibits a triptych of photographs, showing a melancholic, bucolic and poetic point of view, underlined by the visual poem that completes the piece.

The Biennial’s exhibition project, entitled De casa para um mundo, is an idea by Sobral Centeno and Manuel de Novaes Cabral, curated by Fátima Lambert and Paula Freire, responsible for the music elements. The group exhibition brings together 30 works produced during the quarantine, by 15 visual artists, 15 writers and 15 contemporary composers, in a dialogue at a distance, but in communion through their artistic practices. We also highlight the contribution of 5 designers who have devised images that disseminate the project and reflect on design as artistic creation.

Gonçalo M. Tavares in Atlas do Corpo e da Imaginação: Teoria, Fragmentos e Imagens (2013) develops the concept of the “body turned House”. In the words of Gaston Bachelard: “The house acquires the physical and moral energies of a human body”. Tavares shows that a house is made by whoever inhabits it, it is much more than geometric shapes, because it becomes the body itself, “flesh and warmth”. They are our smells, gestures and movements, our desires, affections and defenses, like the snail shell, an “image of the fusion between builder and construction, anatomy and action”. In the exhibition, with works made inside the house’s protective walls, throughout the pandemic, Isaque Pinheiro, with Aberto de Segunda a Sábado, a curtain of brass and galvanized steel, together with the words of Maria do Rosário Pedreira [In an eternal Sunday/weeps the beauty sitting at the window…] and music by Carlos Marecos, reveals the nostalgia of a house experienced in a day off and the provisional constructions that are still in our country. On the other hand, Susana Piteira reveals a drawing made with graphite, where the red and the words of Rosa Alice Branco stand out, with music by Francisco Monteiro. It shows the house as a throbbing heart, irrigating the blood throughout our body. From another point of view, Pedro Tudela presents Cousa (2020), with text by Hugo Mezena, written with graphite on a wooden plate, and music by Isabel Pires, disclosing the performative side of the word, the drawing, the image and the house that is effectively transformed into a body.

The XXI Cerveira International Art Biennial can be visited until 31 December 2020. This year it is also accessible online.

Annie Martins (Porto, 1990) co-founder of the curatorial collective Hera, is a master's student in Art Studies - Museological and Curatorial Studies at FBAUP. She was also a researcher at the CHIC Project, supporting the integration of artist films in the Portuguese National Cinema Plan and in the Online Catalog of Films and Videos of Portuguese Artists. Graduated in Cinema by ESTC-IPL (2007-2010) and in Heritage Management by ESE-IPP (2013-2017) collaborates as Art Director in fictions and television programs, and recently started writing for Umbigo Magazine.

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