“These cars are all going to the Bienal”, says salesperson Robson Bispo Martins, while pointing to the long line of vehicles that formed at the entrance to Ibirapuera Park this Saturday morning (4) – the day the event, in its 34th edition, opened to the public.
Martins, who claims to have been working in the park’s surroundings for nine years, says that gates 3 and 4 reopened to the public “about two months ago” and that for some time he hasn’t seen such a long line forming at the site. “It will continue like this in the next few days because of the exhibition”, he says.
Despite the seller’s placement, the queue scene was not repeated at the entrance to the Bienal Pavilion. At least not during the morning of the opening — the afternoon is usually busier.
The public, apparently, preferred to take advantage of the sunny morning of the first day of a long holiday in the park before facing the 25,000 square meters of the Bienal’s pavilion. In addition, anyone passing along the lanes or on the Ibirapuera lawn can see some of the works that make up “Faz Escuro Mas Eu Canto” even without entering the building.
This is the case with the inflatable snakes by Jaider Esbell, which are in the lake in front of the Monument to the Flags, or the enormous sculptures made of aluminum plates by Paulo Nazareth. Eleven meters tall, the most recognizable of them is that of councilwoman Marielle Franco, who was murdered in 2018. It is not the most visible among the pieces, however. Bienal visitors need to walk to the Brazilian Cultures pavilion to see the work, installed next to food trucks.
The buzz at the door of the building was of people hunting, on their cell phones, for photos to prove that they were vaccinated. This is one of the institution’s two requirements for visitation. The other is the mask, which must not be removed even to drink water.
Even if shyly, visitors were already beginning to spread through the space in the first hours of the exhibition. Families with children, couples, groups of friends and people who were in the park observed and took pictures of the works.
In order to have some contact with nature after so long at home, retired teacher Maria Rosa Dória Ribeiro, 66, was surprised by the opening of the Bienal and decided to pay a visit.
“It’s the first time I’ve taken a tour like this since the beginning of the pandemic,” he says. “Now, I’m even considering using one of these headphones,” he says of the work “Pim-Pam”, by Spaniard Roger Bernat, in which instructions are whispered to the visitor through wireless headphones, in a kind of game. The appliances are sanitized before each use.
Argentine Bárbara Stutz, 42, left home with her three young children just to see the event. “I’ve come to every edition of the Bienal since I arrived in São Paulo, 13 years ago,” he says, after taking a photo with the two older boys with posters that make up a work by Chilean Alfredo Jaar in hand. In them, one reads “the old is dying and the new is slow to be born. In this chiaroscuro monsters arise”, a phrase by Antonio Gramsci.
Used to visiting exhibitions with Barbara, little Mateo, 8, was interested in a work on the third floor of the pavilion. “I saw that there are colored lights up there and I was curious.”
The work, a sculpture of lights by the Italian Marinella Senatore that resembles an amusement park toy, also stood out for the trio Carolina Braga, 40, Barbara Leão, 42, and Maria Eduarda, 10. In addition, they found it interesting that part The Bienal team includes blacks and foreigners, “especially on the second floor, where there are more works by Afro artists”.
For Eder Vendramel, 40, and Itamar Olímpio, 38, what caught their attention was the focus on the National Museum, in addition to black and indigenous artists. “We took the first guided tour of this Bienal. We haven’t been out since December, but we’re coming back little by little,” says the pair, who went to the Portuguese Language Museum last week.
“I found the connection they made with the fire at the National Museum, which completed three years yesterday, very interesting [sexta (3)]”, says Itamar. Eder, on the other hand, says he liked the theme of freedom.
In the early afternoon, a group of about 30 people followed the performance “Dancer of The Year Shop #3”, by the American Trajal Harrel on the second floor of the pavilion. And the corridors were becoming more and more crowded with people with masks on their faces and cell phones in hand.