With the Election of Jair Bolsonaro as President, Brazilian Museums Must Become Centres for Promoting Democratic Values – 随着Jair Bolsonaro当选为总统,巴西博物馆必须成为促进民主价值的中心。

It was a regular Sunday in October in São Paulo – sunny and chilly. My original plan was to walk towards Paulista Avenue – one of the city’s main thoroughfares – to see the exhibition ‘Afro Atlantic Histories’ at MASP (the São Paulo Art Museum), which was closing that day. The survey – included 450 works by 214 artists from Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe, and spanned five centuries – promised to weave together multiple strands of Afro-Atlantic visual culture and provide a starting point for discussing colonial legacies and identity politics. Brazil was one of the last major countries in the world to abolish slavery and has the largest African-descendent population in the planet – it’s about time these pressing issues appear in art programmes. On my way to the show, I bumped into a demonstration in support Jair Bolsonaro – the far-right politician who was, after this writing, elected President by a wide-margin – that stretched for a few blocks of the avenue’s extension. Speakers, placed in front of the museum, amplified his delusional and repulsive speech and blasted it toward anyone entering MASP. I suspect this was deliberate.

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With the Election of Jair Bolsonaro as President, Brazilian Museums Must Become Centres for Promoting Democratic Values - 随着Jair Bolsonaro当选为总统,巴西博物馆必须成为促进民主价值的中心。

‘Afro Atlantic Histories’, 2018, installation view, MASP, São Paulo. Courtesy: MASP, São Paulo

While he was mayor of São Paulo from 2013–17, Fernando Haddad – the Workers Party candidate who ultimately lost to Bolsonaro – closed down the lengthy Paulista Avenue to cars every Sunday to allow cyclists, strollers and skaters roam free. Back in 2016, I remember feeling that my city was finally in tune with progressive discussions about mobility and the environment. On the Sunday of my visit to MASP, walking down the avenue, I felt like I was witnessing the antagonism between Haddad and Bolsonaro take material form: a tragic encounter between the avenue’s regular strollers, museum visitors and a euphoric Bolsonaro group dressed in the colours of the Brazilian flag.

The crowd stared anxiously at a giant screen mounted in the middle of the avenue while blowing annoying plastic horns (remember the ‘vuvuzelas’ from the 2010 World Cup?) and waving the Brazilian flag. Suddenly, in an Orwellian appearance, the wannabe despot rose up on screen. Livestreaming from his home in Rio de Janeiro, where he was recovering from a recent stabbing attack, Bolsonaro promised that a vast ‘cleanse’ will soon take place, sending all opponents to ‘the edge of the beach’ (ponta da praia). I didn’t understand what he meant, but later learned that this was a reference to a naval base where the opponents of the regime were murdered during the dictatorship. This threat, along with his hankering for the country’s military past and his persistent insults towards women, people of colour and the LGBT community, should have been reason enough to end his campaign. But it wasn’t.  

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With the Election of Jair Bolsonaro as President, Brazilian Museums Must Become Centres for Promoting Democratic Values - 随着Jair Bolsonaro当选为总统,巴西博物馆必须成为促进民主价值的中心。

View of supporters of Jair Bolsonara from MASP, São Paulo, 2018. Courtesy: Fernanda Brenner

From MASP’s staircases, I watched this digital Bolsonaro, with his square, angry head barking on screen, entice his audience with his flashy, disturbing rhetoric. Composed mostly of white families or men wearing military attire, the crowd was livid for ‘revenge’ – against former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the ‘red-outcasts’ of his Workers Party, whatever this means. That image struck me, Big Brother Bolsonaro courting his followers. Not because of the size of the crowd (the opposition’s events I attended seemed larger), but for the violence of their obvious racial and class hatred. Somebody holding a microphone sneered: ‘These hipsters wearing sandals will turn your kids into communists. These weird people, these intellectuals.’ I said to my girlfriend that they must be talking about us.

That afternoon, the museum’s partially levitating concrete form, designed by the Italian-born Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi, was really floating above the sea of protestors. Museumgoers, now stuck together in this fragile moment of intimacy, talked with one another in ways that would rarely happen otherwise. I spoke with strangers about the need for safeguarding cultural institutions and protecting Brazil’s democratic values. (The dictatorship only ended 30 years ago.) I randomly met some friends who were also catching the show’s last day, all with heavy hearts like mine. We discussed resistance strategies, ranging from learning how to use a bow-and-arrow to internet piracy to the most suitable verbs for our coming political campaigns. MASP’s concrete walls never felt thicker.

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With the Election of Jair Bolsonaro as President, Brazilian Museums Must Become Centres for Promoting Democratic Values - 随着Jair Bolsonaro当选为总统,巴西博物馆必须成为促进民主价值的中心。

Rosana Paulino, A permanência das estruturas (The Permanence of Structures), 2017, digital print on textile, cutout, sewing. Courtesy: the artist and MASP, São Paulo

How the hell have we ended up here? How could a once irrelevant, ultra-right congressman become the next Brazilian president? Perhaps Rosana Paulino’s A permanência das estruturas (The Permanence of Structures, 2017), which was included in the show, offers a clue. Paulino sewed pieces of cloth carrying diagrams of a slave-ship, sketches of skulls, pictures of black bodies in positions that resemble criminal data-bases or forensic analysis and Portuguese tiles. The mosaic includes the inscription: ‘the permanence of structures’. Jair Bolsonaro sells himself as an avenger ready to upend the political establishment and put the country ‘back on track’. When museums and forests are burning, when hard news and facts are disdained and discredited, it is easy for an authoritarian bravatta to take place. Certainly, Brazil’s most sordid structures are still there – rock solid – shouting in the streets.

On that particular day, I saw ‘Afro-Atlantic Histories’ as a beautiful counterargument hovering over the angry crowd on Paulista Avenue. All the critical and ‘curatorial arguments’ I’d normally have had seemed irrelevant when listening to what came out of the speakers downstairs. Artists, curators, writers and historians are often unsure about the resonance – not the importance – of what they do. But the exhibition –inside Lina’s utopic concrete box, built by a woman who herself had fled a world ravaged by right-wing violence – with people I knew and people I didn’t gave me the strength to walk back home while holding my girlfriend’s hand all the way.

Main image: View of supporters of Jair Bolsonara from MASP, São Paulo, 2018. Courtesy: Fernanda Brenner

Fernanda Brenner

Fernanda Brenner is the founder and Artistic Director of Pivô, an independent non-profit art space in São Paulo, and a contributing editor of frieze

Opinion /

Fernanda Brenner
Brazil
Elections
Lina Bo Bardi
Art and Politics
Opinion
Museu de Arte de São Paulo
Rosana Paulino


这是十月Paulo的一个晴朗的星期日,阳光明媚,寒冷刺骨。我最初的计划是步行到保利斯塔大街——这个城市的主要通道之一——去看那天即将关闭的MASP(圣保罗艺术博物馆)的“非洲大西洋历史”展览。这项调查包括了来自非洲、美洲、加勒比和欧洲的214位艺术家创作的450幅作品,跨越了五个世纪。调查承诺将把非洲-大西洋视觉文化的多条线交织在一起,为讨论殖民遗产和身份政治提供一个起点。巴西是世界上最后一个废除奴隶制的主要国家之一,也是这个星球上非洲后裔人口最多的国家之一——这些紧迫的问题应该出现在艺术节目中了。在我去演出的路上,我碰巧遇到了支持Jair Bolsonaro的示威游行,Jair Bolsonaro是极右派政治家,在写完这篇文章后,他以很大的优势当选总统。站在博物馆前面的发言者放大了他的妄想和令人反感的演讲,并向任何进入MASP的人猛烈抨击。我怀疑这是故意的。18-07-30_5146-pano.jpg With the Election of Jair Bolsonaro as President, Brazilian Museums Must Become Centres for Promoting Democratic Values - 随着Jair Bolsonaro当选为总统,巴西博物馆必须成为促进民主价值的中心。“非洲大西洋历史”,2018,安装视图,MASP,圣保罗。礼貌:圣保罗,MASP,当他从2013-17年担任圣保罗市长时,工人党候选人费尔南多·哈达德(Fernando Haddad)——最终输给了布尔索诺罗——每周日关闭了漫长的泡利斯塔大街,禁止汽车通行,以允许自行车、手推车和滑冰者自由漫步。回到2016年,我记得我的城市终于适应了关于机动性和环境的渐进式讨论。在我参观马斯普的那一个星期日,我沿着大街走去,感觉像是在目睹哈达德和博索纳罗之间的对抗:物质形式:大街上的普通推销员、博物馆访客和穿着巴西色彩的欢快的波尔索罗集团之间的悲惨遭遇。n标志。人群焦急地盯着大街中间的一个巨大的屏风,吹着恼人的塑料喇叭(还记得2010世界杯的‘呜呜祖拉’吗?)挥舞巴西国旗。突然,在一个奥威尔式的外表下,邪恶的暴君站在屏幕上。从他在里约热内卢的家里,从最近的一次刺伤中恢复过来,Bolsonaro承诺将进行一次大规模的“清洗”,将所有的对手都送到“海滩边缘”(PoTa大普腊亚)。我不明白他的意思,但后来得知,这是一个海军基地的基础上,该政权的反对者在专政期间被谋杀。这种威胁,以及他对国家军事历史的渴望和他对妇女、有色人种和LGBT社区的持续侮辱,应该已经足够有理由结束他的竞选。但是,这并不是《2018年圣保罗市马斯帕市缪尔·布尔索纳拉支持者的意见》。礼貌:费尔南达·布伦纳(Fernanda Brenner)在MASP的楼梯上,我看到这个数字波尔索纳罗,他那方正的、愤怒的头在屏幕上吠叫,用浮华、令人不安的言辞吸引他的观众。人群中大多数是白人家庭或穿着军装的男人,他们对“报复”感到愤怒——不管这意味着什么,他们反对前总统路易斯·伊纳西奥·卢拉·达·席尔瓦和他的工人党的“红色流浪者”。这张照片深深地打动了我,大哥Bolsonaro向他的追随者们求爱。不是因为人数众多(我参加的反对党的活动似乎更大),而是因为他们明显的种族和阶级仇恨的暴力。有人拿着麦克风讥笑道:“这些穿着凉鞋的嬉皮士会把你的孩子变成共产主义者。这些奇怪的人,这些知识分子。我对我的女朋友说他们一定在谈论我们。那天下午,由出生于意大利的巴西建筑师利娜·博·巴迪设计的博物馆部分浮起的混凝土形式真的漂浮在抗议者的海洋之上。现在,在亲密的脆弱时刻,博物馆的来访者们聚在一起,以很少会发生的方式彼此交谈。我和陌生人谈了维护文化机构和保护巴西民主价值观的必要性。(独裁统治在30年前才结束。)我随机地遇到了一些朋友,他们都和我一样怀着沉重的心情赶上节目的最后一天。我们讨论了抵制策略,从学习如何使用弓箭到网络盗版,再到为我们即将到来的政治活动选择最合适的动词。Masp的混凝土墙从来没有感觉到更厚。Rosana-paulino_a-perman.a-das-estruturas.jpg With the Election of Jair Bolsonaro as President, Brazilian Museums Must Become Centres for Promoting Democratic Values - 随着Jair Bolsonaro当选为总统,巴西博物馆必须成为促进民主价值的中心。-Rosana Paulino,A permane_ncia das estruturas(结构的持久性),2017,纺织品数字印刷,裁剪,缝纫。礼貌:艺术家和马斯斯,Paulo,我们到底是怎么来到这里的?一位曾经无关紧要、极端右倾的国会议员怎么会成为下一届巴西总统呢?也许罗莎娜·保利诺的《永恒的情结》(结构永恒,2017)提供了线索。波利诺缝制了一块布料,上面有奴隶船的图表、骷髅的草图、黑体在类似犯罪数据库、法医分析和葡萄牙瓦片的位置上的照片。马赛克包括铭文:“结构的永久性”。Jair Bolsonaro出售自己作为复仇者准备推翻政治机构,并使国家“回到正轨”。当博物馆和森林被烧毁,当硬新闻和事实被蔑视和诋毁,一个独裁者的布拉瓦塔很容易发生。当然,巴西最肮脏的建筑还在那里——岩石坚实——在街上大喊。在那个特别的日子,我看到《非洲-大西洋历史》是一场美丽的反论战,在保利斯塔大街愤怒的人群中盘旋。我平时听楼下演讲者讲的话时,所有的批评性和“策展性论点”都显得无关紧要。艺术家、策展人、作家和历史学家常常不确定他们所做的事情的共鸣——而不是重要性。但是展览——在丽娜的乌托邦水泥盒子里,是由一个逃离了被右翼暴力蹂躏的世界的女人建造的——和我认识的人和我一路牵着女朋友的手走回家的人在一起。主要形象:来自马斯普的Jair Bolsonara支持者的观点,2018岁的Paulo。礼貌:费尔南达·布伦纳·费尔南达·布伦纳·费尔南达·布伦纳·费尔南达·布伦纳是圣保罗独立的非营利性艺术空间皮佛罗的创始人和艺术总监,弗里兹杂志特约编辑。圣保罗艺术博物馆


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