This will be the first survey exhibition in the United States featuring works by Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca.
Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca, Faz que vai [Set to go], 2015 (still). HD 2K video, color, 5.1 sound; 12:00 min. © Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca. Courtesy Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo/Rio de Janeiro
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Working together for a decade, Bárbara Wagner (b. 1980, Brasília, Brazil) and Benjamin de Burca (b. 1975, Munich, Germany) produce films and video installations that feature protagonists engaged in cultural production. The duo typically collaborates with non-actors to make their films, from writing scripts to staging performances on camera. The resulting works are marked by economic conditions and social tensions present in the contexts in which they are filmed, giving urgency to new forms of self-representation through voice, movement, and drama.
Installed on the Third Floor, “Five Times Brazil” will focus on five projects developed by the artists over a period of particular socio-political turmoil in Brazil: Faz que vai [Set to Go] (2015) focuses on four dancers whose practices complicate the relationship between traditional and contemporary frevo in northeast Brazil; Estás vendo coisas [You are seeing things] (2016) delves into the landscape of Brega music in Recife; Terremoto Santo [Holy Tremor] (2017) turns to gospel produced and performed by young preachers, singers, and composers in rural Pernambuco; Swinguerra (2019), commissioned for the Brazilian Pavilion in the 58th Venice Biennale, looks into dance competitions in the outskirts of Recife; and a new piece, Fala da Terra [Voice of the Land] (2022) features the practice of Coletivo Banzeiros, a theater group composed of members of the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (Landless Workers’ Movement)—an organization that has been fighting for land reform and against social inequities affecting rural workers in Brazil for forty years. Together, the works in the exhibition highlight the strength and complexity of artistic expression, and demonstrate how culture can offer profound sources of resistance and community.
“Bárbara Wagner and Benjamin de Burca: Five Times Brazil” is curated by Margot Norton, Allen and Lola Goldring Curator, and Bernardo Mosqueira, ISLAA Curatorial Fellow, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by the New Museum. The catalogue includes a conversation between the artists and Margot Norton; and texts by Vivian Crockett, Bernardo Mosqueira, and Wendelien van Oldenborgh.