August 12–December 3, 2017
“Amidst the complex issues arising from current advents, let us glimpse through gaps to expand reflections that stem from sensitive experiences, brimming over contours and occupying other dimensions in the relationships with symbolic universes." This intention, which has art as its true North, is the basis for Frestas—Art Triennial’s urgent investigation, proposition and experience, in the words of Danilo Santos de Miranda, Sesc São Paulo’s regional director.
Held in Sorocaba, a city located in the state of São Paulo countryside, in Brazil, the Frestas triennial is part of the wide-ranging exhibitions program offered by Sesc São Paulo, a private institution that operates through a network of 40 cultural and leisure centres across the state. The 2nd edition of Frestas took place from August 12 to December 3, 2017.
The curator, Daniela Labra, outlined the public debate based on the circumstantial theme, Between Post-Truths and Events, and set the guidelines for the many initiatives featured in the Triennial’s programmatic platform, which comprises the main exhibit at Sesc Sorocaba and various other interventions that take place in different city spaces. The collective aim in which the meaning of the Triennial’s core concept, Frestas, was etymologically and conceptually speculated and conceived lent it narrative sense and gave credence to the artists’ participation.
From a curatorship’s perspective, it is in this gap—or opening—that lies the ambiguity created by the perverse power of the post-truth (and its factoids) and the indelible mark of major events (occasional historical milestones) that can befall us incontrovertibly. This is where artists operate most powerfully and where, according to the curatorship, “art pierces through and can be seen as a tool for social transformation.” This edition’s broad umbrella theme was covered by a large number of local and international participants—in total 60 artists and groups presented their work and interventions.
The editorial curatorship by Ana Maria Maia and Júlia Ayerbe took the Triennial’s debate to a new level by building discursive and practical activation circuits, selecting artistic pitches with activation through the internet, producing a catalogue-book and registering the exhibition.
Over a four-month period, a number of public programs were carried out that included debates and conferences, workshops and courses, and performances and shows featuring guests and an active participation by the Triennial’s core working groups. The educational curatorship, supervised by artist Fábio Tremonte, should also be noted. It ran parallel to this edition’s events and promoted meetings and learning opportunities among different audiences. It was responsible for the continuity of the Sesc Escola project, which reiterated the triennial’s educational vocation and established a learning space with permanent activation.
As a result, a process of continuousness was established with the previous edition, thereby consolidating a permeable, democratic platform that is open to the relationships and dialogue stemming from the social dynamics that take place in the realm of the event and its programme, without losing sight of a broader contemporary scenario—from the reality of the Brazilian hinterland to the world.
The idea of a Triennial that is guided by its very name, Frestas, becomes concrete within the city as it sprawls, diversifies and contaminates, creating circuits and healthy conflicts in the local environment. It ultimately unravels and reorders, even if temporarily, the idea of a geographical and symbolic polarity that defines São Paulo, a benchmark city in the contemporary art international circuit. At a time of geopolitical reorganisation and protagonism by the global South, the moment is ripe to think and outline the relations of power as well as how they operate on a different territorial scale, bringing other vantage points to the fore, or, even better, other current initiatives of artistic discourse and experience. Hence, the importance of Frestas – Art Triennial in Sorocaba (SP), Brazil.