SP-Arte announced the discontinuation of SP-Foto, the photography fair held in August since 2007, to be replaced by SP-Arte Rotas Brasileiras (Brazilian Routes). The new fair runs from Wednesday, August 24 to Sunday, August 28, with an eclectic portfolio of seventy galleries and art institutions from all over the country, presenting a wide range of visual-art manifestations, including photography. The event also changes address. It now takes place at ARCA, a 97,000-square-feet industrial structure at Vila Leopoldina neighborhood in the not-so-charming Zona Oeste (West Zone) of São Paulo.
Will art lovers flock to the new venue? Will they appreciate the fair format? It remains for the market to see. However, some of the top São Paulo galleries, such as Luisa Strina and Nara Roesler, bet on the bold move. Following the trail comes a host of lesser-known galleries from remote areas of this nation anxious for exposure and recognition in the powerful São Paulo market. This is a good prospect since it will probably expand the overall artistic experience of the visitors (largely from the twenty-to-fifty age-group) by exposing them to diverse narratives and broader human landscapes with their own indigenous and religious mythologies, social disparities and peculiar transgressions, spicing up art’s ebullient questioning and cultural cross pollination. (All galleries and art institutions listed below.)
In its twelve-year existence (2007-2019), SP-Foto positioned Brazilian photography as a serious contender on the international stage and, locally, created a more mature and organized market that will not be overlooked. Some highlights in fine art photography present at the first edition of Rotas Brasileiras include Almeida & Dale Fotografia, introducing the well-known gallery’s new vintage photo department with works from Asia-Brazil through the lens of photo-clubs. ArteHall brings Anna Paes, Luiz Maudonnet and Paula Clerman. From the northernmost state of Pará, PREAMAR shows Marcio Vasconcelos and Dinho Araujo. Artist and founder of HOA gallery, Igi Lola Ayedun, shows the Afro-Brazilian photo archive Zumví and the work of Amazonas-born photographer Rafa Kennedy focused on the trans community. Mario Cohen, Brazil’s first photo gallery, displays Sebastião Salgado, Elaine Pessoa, Cristiano Mascaro, Lucas Lenci and Rogerio Braga. Salvador, Bahia, is present through the Mario Cravo Neto Institute and the Pierre Verger Foundation. From Amazonas state is Manaus-based Uma concertação pela Amazônia that will show Marcela Bonfim, Paula Sampaio, Lalo de Almeida, Edu Simões and Rogério Assis.
The big question remains: Will the first edition produce a cloud of disapproval or will Rotas Brasileiras march on for its second season? Let’s see what founder and director of SP-Arte, Fernanda Feitosa, has to say.
Fernanda, since 2007 the local art market grew familiar with the yearly editions of SP-Foto focusing exclusively on photography. The fair became largely responsible for expanding Brazil’s modern and contemporary photo market. Now you introduce a new art fair, Rotas Brasileiras (Brazilian Routes), and discontinue SP-Foto. Why?
Rotas Brasileiras is a step forward; it’s an expansion of SP-Foto. Its portfolio embraces photography and all the visual art forms produced in Brazil. The fair focuses on a wide variety of art from the five main regions of our continental-sized country and will present the local production and artists still unknown in the São Paulo-Rio axis. We also felt the urge to take a stand on the local political situation by celebrating the best of our diversity and creative force, currently being undermined and constantly being attacked by the present government.
So, SP-Foto, as of now, exits the market.
Let’s put it this way, SP-Foto has “retired” with great dignity. Along with its expanded portfolio, Rotas Brasileiras has significant participations dedicated exclusively to photography. We’ll have the modernist photographers of the pioneering photo clubs of the mid-twentieth century at the stand of Almeida e Dale Fotografia; the archives of important cultural institutions from Salvador, Bahia, such as, the Mario Cravo Neto Institute and the Pierre Verger Foundation; and the Wesley Duke Lee Art Institute from São Paulo. In contemporary Brazilian photography we will also show the Amazônia series by Sebastião Salgado, the Afro archives of collective Zumví at HOA gallery, as well as a group show curated by Éder Chiodetto with photographers who have captured the Amazon region extensively like Rogério Assis, Lalo de Almeida and João Farkas.
Is the reason for SP-Foto’s “retirement” the current trend in the art fair market to broaden the focus instead of catering to specific niches?
I believe so. After the pandemic the local photography market slimmed down so now we have fewer galleries dedicated solely to photo or fine art photography. Since this would eventually limit the growth of the event we decided to embrace other narratives. However, we love photography, which is the reason why we have designed the inaugural edition of Rotas Brasileiras with several photography projects.
Now let’s tackle the name of the fair. Rotas Brasileiras signals a more regional, Brazilian art event. Since the appreciation of visual art has become a globalized phenomenon, don’t you find the name too regional? For global audiences SP-Arte and SP-Foto have more international sounding and easier to read names. This way isn’t it less appealing globally?
Rotas Brasileiras doesn’t aim at foreign galleries but rather at the expansion of the local public, local galleries as well as foreign collectors. I agree it’s harder to pronounce, but SP-Arte, which happens annually in April, has a broad scope and attracted foreign galleries since its onset. However, ArteBA, the Buenos Aires-based art fair, has confirmed its interest in taking part in Rotas Brasileiras in the near future.
To wrap up tell us about the highlights of the new fair.
Rotas Brasileiras will show our country’s most important art galleries from north to south. The event invites the public to dive deep into the originality and the high-quality art production from places distant from the traditional cultural axis. We shall have galleries from the Amazon region and the Jequitinhonha Valley, to name a few. Under the curatorship of Paulo Herkenhoff and Laura Rago, we will have a special area occupied by a pioneering visual arts event from the northernmost state of Pará, Arte Pará, that now celebrates four decades. Brazil is a continental-sized nation rich in different art forms that the public is dying to get to know. Under this large umbrella we’ll have seventy exhibitors, among galleries as well as private and institutional projects. They will display a vast array of our art production, including non-canonical, commercial and institutional art. Rotas Brasileiras is a cosmovision of the visual arts produced in different regions of Brazil.
SP–Arte Rotas Brasileiras
August 24 through 28, 2022
ARCA, Vila Leopoldina, São Paulo, SP
Acervo Galeria de Arte / Alban / Almeida & Dale / AM Galeria / Andrea Rehder Arte Contemporânea / Arte 57 – Renato Magalhaes Gouvêa Jr. / Arte Hall / Arteformatto / Aura / Babel / Belizário Galeria / Carbono / Carmo Johnson Projects / Casa Rosa Amarela / Celma Albuquerque / Central Galeria / C.galeria / Choque Cultural / Fólio / Gabriel Wickbold Gallery / Galatea / Galeria Frente / Galeria Karandash / Galeria Karla Osorio / Galeria Lume / Galeria Radiante / Galería Sur / Galleria Continua / Gomide&Co / Hilda Araujo Escritorio de Arte / Luis Maluf Galeria de Arte / Luisa Strina / MaPa / Marco Zero / Marilia Razuk / Mario Cohen / Millan / Nara Roesler / Hoa Galeria / Paulo Kuczynski Escritório de Arte / Quadra / Rafael Moraes / Rodrigo Ratton / Samba Arte Contemporânea / Sé / Silvia Cintra + Box 4 / SteinART Contemporânea / Steiner / Taschen-Paisagem / Vermelho / Verve / Zielinsky / Zilda Fraletti / Zipper Galeria
Bancos Indígenas do Xingu / Fundação Pierre Verger / Instituto Mario Cravo Neto / Instituto Wesley Duke Lee / Novos Para Nós / PREAMAR / Prêmio Museu é Mundo / Projeto Arte Pará / Uma Concertação pela Amazônia
Rio-born Cynthia Garcia is a respected art historian, art critic and journalist fluent in five languages stationed in São Paulo. Cynthia is a recipient of the 2023 APCA (Paulista Association of Art Critics) award as a contributing editor of Newcity Brazil since its founding in 2015. Her daughter America Cavaliere works in the contemporary art market and her son Pedro Cavaliere, based in LA, is in the international DJ scene.
Contact: [email protected], www.cynthiagarcia.biz