At first sight, How to talk about things that don't exist might seem like an abstract theme. But perhaps we should think of the title of the 31st Bienal de São Paulo as a contemporary dilemma: how do we live in a world that is in a permanent state of transformation, in which the old forms – of work, of behaviour, of art – no longer fit and the new forms have yet to be clearly outlined?
By choosing this curatorial project, the Bienal makes room for a fresh view of its building and its history, with a proposal that leaves the modernist heritage on the sidelines in favour of new approaches and considerations. The guide you now hold in your hands is another piece of evidence of the vigorous work realised by the curators and the foundation's permanent staff.
Working in one of the biggest cities in the world, we are responsible for an event that attracts more than five hundred thousand people and is increasingly more committed to the cultural and social circles that surround us. For the past five years, the Educational Department has been developing an unparalleled project in teacher training – which, by the end of 2014, will have reached 25,000 educators – and with the participation of new sectors of the public, involving communities and partner communities all over Brazil. At the same time, the Bienal's travelling programme has brought recent editions of the exhibition to different Brazilian cities, drawing larger and larger crowds. This year, it has the potential to double the number of spectators, so that the 31st Bienal is seen by a total of one million people.
Beyond the spectrum of instruction and the spread of culture, we also operate with increasing focus in the area of research. Since 2013, a series of resources has been applied to revitalising the Bienal Archive, consolidating its place as a centre of reference and memory in modern and contemporary art. This process has already begun to bear fruit, which should become more visible in the coming years.
Thus, transcending the exhibitions that it stages, the Bienal Foundation is today an institution dedicated to the production of content, the professional training of its personnel and the implementation of a consistent management model. Still, its activities would not be possible without the crucial support provided by the Ministry of Culture, the State Secretary of Culture, the Municipal Secretary of Culture, its partner in the event, Itaú, its sponsors and a valuable cultural partnership with Sesc São Paulo. It is this network of support that allows us to strengthen the bonds between art, the avant-garde and education in order to merit and maintain our place of prestige on the national and international scene.
President of the Bienal de São Paulo Foundation