New Zealand has featured in previous editions of the Sao Paulo Bienal – Joe Sheehan in the 28th, Andrew McLeod and Brendan Wilkinson in the 27th, Remember New Zealand curated by Tobias Berger for the 26th, Gavin Hipkins in the 25th and Peter Robinson in the 23rd. No artists, however, have made it into the lineup for the 29th Bienal titled There is always a cup of sea to sail in. Perhaps it's because we aren't doing enough these days to get the curators of international exhibitions and events to our corner of the world?
For instance, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the Artistic Director of Documenta 13, was in Australia recently looking at artists for her 2012 exhibition, but didn't make it across the Tasman. Christov-Bakargiev was in New Zealand four years ago to judge the Walters Prize and made time for presentations by a number of Auckland-based artists while she was here. It's a pity we weren't able to capitalise on the connection by flying her over. However, no-one knew of her plans until she turned up in Sydney, which raises questions about the international visitor programmes operating around the country – some funded by Creative New Zealand. Is anyone thinking about representation in international events like the Sao Paulo Bienal and Documenta and how we catch the eye of the curators and exhibition makers early enough for our artists to be considered for inclusion?
Image: Pavilhao Ciccillo Matarazzo, venue for the 29th Sao Paulo Bienal