Home Arts Brazil’s growing notoriety in the art world draws renewed international attention to SP-Arte, the country’s largest art fair

Brazil’s growing notoriety in the art world draws renewed international attention to SP-Arte, the country’s largest art fair

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Latin America’s largest art and design fair, SP-Arte, opened its 19th edition on Wednesday with the participation of 168 galleries. Long queues formed outside the Biennale pavilion in Ibirapuera Park as visitors waited in the scorching sun to enter the fair.

“You can feel the excitement in the air, both from the galleries and from the collectors,” said Fernanda Feitosa, Founder and Director of SP-Arte. The arts journal. “The pandemic is completely behind us and we expect a big reconnection.” Organizers say they expect between 26,000 and 28,000 over the course of the five-day fair.

According to Feitosa, the easing of the pandemic has been accompanied by a renewed interest in the art market in Brazil – both from international galleries seeking to connect with the community of national collectors and Brazilian dealers seeking to rekindle relationships with foreign collectors who may not have visited since 2019. The surge of interest comes at an important time for the Brazilian art world, following the late selection year of the artistic director of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP). Antonio Pedrosa curator of the Venice Biennale 2024 and with the 34th edition of the Sao Paulo Biennale which will open its doors in September.

The country also benefits from a better geopolitical position following the victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva over Jair Bolsonaro during the presidential election last year. “Brazil is no longer seen as a pariah in environmental, social and racial agendas,” Feitosa said. “Events like SP-Arte, the Biennale and Pedrosa’s nomination project a positive image of the country in the art world.”

Wooden benches by indigenous Brazilian artists exhibited at SP-Arte Photo courtesy SP-Arte

This year’s fair is marked by a 30% increase in the number of design exhibitors, according to Feitosa, and a strong representation of indigenous Brazilian artists. “Indigenous artists are on the agenda this year, with artists like Carmezia Emiliano and Aislan Pankararu,” she says.

Another outstanding feature of the fair is Recovering Paradise: Not Needing the End to Happen, a special project spread over 13 solo booths and curated by Carollina Lauriano. The curator has chosen works by established artists such as Rubem Valentim, Emanoel Araujo and Rosana Paulino, as well as young artists like Laryssa Machada to prompt questions about the separation between social and anti-racist movements and environmental and ecological discussions.

“It’s a program that has emerged not just locally, but globally,” Lauriano says. “These are movements that are part of a global agenda, thinking of possible futures, more egalitarian, more plural.”

Visitors on the opening day of the 2023 edition of SP-Arte Photo by Marcelo Camargo/SP Government

This year’s fair features 15 foreign galleries, including New York’s Gladstone Gallery, Los Angeles’ Night Gallery and Barcelona’s Galería Zielinsky. Among the international galleries making their debut this year are three Parisian galleries: Galerie Younique, Nil Gallery and Maât Gallery.

“I wanted to explore the Brazilian market,” explains Paul William, founder and director of Maât. “There are a lot of art lovers here and they know how to collect art and that’s important to me.” William brought works by French, Ghanaian and Nigerian artists to the edition of the fair and says the response on the opening day was very positive: “There has been a lot of interest in my artists, so I am very happy”.

William adds that the bureaucracy involved in trying to bring art into the country can discourage foreign galleries from coming to fairs like SP-Arte. “Brazil is not the easiest market to get into, due to customs, taxes and paperwork,” he says.

“Transport logistics for international fairs has now become very expensive and very rare,” says Feitosa. “We are noticing a greater movement of European galleries in Europe and American galleries in America.”

Visitors on the opening day of SP-Arte Photo courtesy of SP-Arte

Davida Nemeroff, owner of Night Gallery, agrees. “It’s a huge and very complicated commitment, something that might not make sense at first, but for us it’s a long-term investment,” she says. Nemeroff became interested in participating in SP-Arte after visiting Rio de Janeiro last year and adding two Brazilian artists – Marcia Falcão and Barrão – to her roster. For his first appearance at SP-Arte, his gallery presents 16 works by 12 different artists.

Despite the logistical and bureaucratic problems, dealers of this year’s SP-Arte remain generally optimistic. “The last four years have been complicated for the country’s culture, so this year people are ready to absorb and consume art like never before,” says Anne Linnet, partner at Rio de Janeiro’s Inox gallery. “There’s been a lot of interest, a lot of people curious about what’s going on in the Brazilian art world.”

Linnet says the gallery sold two works in the first two hours of the fair on Wednesday, and several other pieces had been put on hold. “In recent years, SP-Arte has become very attractive for the foreign market,” she says. “This year looks very promising. The dollar is on the rise and I think we are going to see an increase in foreign collectors looking for works. by Brazilian artists.

  • Spartauntil April 2, Biennale Pavilion, Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo

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