In October 2008, a group of about 40 people invaded the 28th São Paulo International Bienal and spray-painted the walls of an empty floor of the building occupied by the exhibition. The demonstration, which questioned exclusion and the concept of art, ended with a single person detained: Caroline Pivetta, who was 24 at the time.
The artist was imprisoned for almost two months at the Santana Women’s Penitentiary (northern area of the city of São Paulo), accused of the crime of “Destruction of a property protected by law”, although no damage was caused to the structures of the walls that received the intervention. .
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Ten years later, Carol became the subject of the documentary Pivetta (watch here), available for free on the internet until December 5th, when this year’s edition of the Bienal ends. More than analyzing what the character’s life has become a decade after the historical fact, the short film subtly narrates the daily life of the graffiti artist’s mother, woman and critic
The film’s executive producer, Tereza Novaes, reaffirms the strength of Pivetta’s story as a creator and representative of the artistic language of graffiti. “She is an artist, she recognizes herself as such and believes a lot in her and in her work. She does something that is fought against, that people don’t understand.”
In an interview with the Bem Viver program, from Radio Brazil in fact, Tereza emphasizes, however, that the direction of the short goes beyond this representation. On the screen is Caroline Pivetta, who is a solo mother, in a daily life that is shared by women from all over the world. In raising her daughter, the artist shows values built and permeated by art.
“This person has to be very strong and we women know that. Being a minority in a space is always difficult”, points out the producer. Tereza adds, “I don’t like to use clichés, but this is a feminist. It shows the struggle of a woman and it shows the struggle of a mother”.
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The Void Biennial
With the participation of just over 40 artists and the exhibition of only 54 works, the 2008 edition of the Bienal had an entire empty floor, chosen by the curator itself. On the institution’s website, the space is described as a “clear metaphor of the conceptual crisis traversed by traditional exhibition systems”.
Treated without major details, the graffiti intervention is in just one line, “the limits of appropriation of the space by artists and graffiti artists were under permanent discussion”, says the page. No mention is devoted to the story of Caroline Pivetta.
The documentary Pivetta accompanied a visit by Carol and her daughter Isis to the 2018 edition of the show. As she walks through the space, the little girl shows so much interest in the works that she doesn’t hold back and tries to interact.
In response, he hears the protocol and typical security responses, “can’t touch”, “can’t sit”, “can’t move”. Carol vents: “That kind of thing I think is ridiculous, coming into a mess of art and not being able to interact.”
Ten years after the artist’s arrest, little has changed in the Bienal’s traditional structure. Although it has proposed to discuss the crisis of the format itself, the museum’s structure and the distance between art and audience follow as a rule.
Edition: Vinícius Segalla