Monday, October 25, 2010

Chad's São Paulo Diary: Bienal

Monday 25th October

Even Sunday's in Sao Paulo are mad. Traffic, both human and cars, pack the streets. We woke up early, and did a little exploring of our neighbourhood before the madness. There's this strange graffitti everywhere called pixaçao. It's a mixture of gangland marking and bravado. You see this stuff on top of skyscrapers and other impossible places (apparently people literally abseil of the buildings). It looks kind of runic, or pictographic. At the 2008 Bienal, the one with the empty floor, pixaçao artists broke in tagged the whole interior. This year, some artists got invited especially (perhaps to avoid the problem through official inclusion). But more on that later.

Some relatively tame examples of pixaçao

The architecture here is really wild. My camera died in the afternoon, so some of the crazy Modernist stuff is going to be left to the imagination (though think strange cantilevers and raw concrete slabs). Here are some examples just from our neighbourhood:

The skyline is 360 degrees. Everywhere you look you see more and more buildings.

We walked down to the Bienal at around 9ish. It sits in the fabulous Parque do Ibirapuera in the Ciccillo Matarazzo pavilion designed by Oscar Niemeyer. This building is made for art.

I'll talk a bit more about the work on the Bienal when I have had a closer look. But here is a work by Ai Weiwei, Zodiac Heads/Circle of Animals, consisting of oversize reproductions of the heads which used to adorn the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, before being destroyed in the Opium Wars:

Chilling after a hard days looking:

In the afternoon we went to Liberdade. It's the biggest Japanese community outside of Japan. There was a Sunday market, and I ate a fantastic Udon soup from a stall.

I'm not sure how I ordered this, because there is very little English spoken. Apparently, I have enough Portuguese to say "One Udon Soup , please."

And then home on the efficient metro.

I'll post some more images tonight, as we also managed to squeeze in a visit to the enormous Cathedral.

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