Fresh News: Brazil Beyond the Ball

Fresh News: Brazil Beyond the Ball

With the excitement of the World Cup coming to a close this Sunday, we find ourselves wondering how artists might engage with this global event. Certainly, there’s much more to Brazil than football. Consider the hugely important 31st São Paulo Biennial that opens this September. Though the eyes of the world have seldom waivered from the stadium, some artists have been taking advantage of this international stage, kicking at football to pique the interest of a new audience.

Oddly enough (or perhaps not surprisingly), Marina Abramovic collaborated with Adidas to recreate her 1978 piece Work Relation in a 3-minute short film by SHOWstudio. Her World Cup performance illuminates the connections between how artists and athletes perform. Will she hook a whole new pop culture following with this video?

Rink Hincks bridges the gap between football and art through a series of graphic posters that illustrate some of the most memorable moments in this year’s global competition. The images diagram the moves involved with some of the best-made goals as well as Luiz Suarez’s biting incident in the 80th minute of the game between Uruguay and Italy. Hincks effectively shifts our focus from the art of the sport to the art of design.

Marc Ohrem-Leclef takes another tack as he shines a light on the invisible populations of the country’s favelas in a photography book titled Olympic Favela. He traveled throughout Rio’s shantytowns over the past few years, photographing those dispossessed by Rio’s municipal housing authority. In the process, the artist points out the longer term local impact of both the World Cup and the anticipated 2016 Summer Olympics.

Outside the glow of the stadium, artevida, a multi-site contemporary art exhibition in Rio, celebrates the vibrant spaces in the city where art and life connect. Artists selected by curators Adriano Pedrosa and Rodrigo Moura explore themes that transcend age and origins. Though overshadowed by the Cup, this exhibition provides some distraction from the horror of Brazil’s defeat in Tuesday’s match with Germany and brings back into focus the nation’s creative life.

Contributed by Freya Schlemmer