The slower sales at SP-Art

Posted on Oct - 04 - 2019

The past weekend São Paulo, the finance capital of Brazil hosted one of Latin Americas most important art fairs, SP-Arte. Launching on Thursday, the popular event clad in the buzz of the city, showcased 164 local and international galleries and over 2,000 works by Brazilian and foreign artists. The event was sought out by collectors, as well as thousands of visitors that flocked to doors of the iconic Biennale building in São Paulo. On its 15th edition, this year the fair was set against a negative political backdrop, including the dissolution of the Ministry of Culture amongst other actions under the Bolsonaro office that have left a palpable social and economic discontent throughout the country.

courtesy: The Art Newspaper

Nevertheless, the event offered spectators a dynamic program that transformed the city in a hub for new artistic trends and an agenda that included Gallery Night, public performances, guided tours, collection visits, panel discussions and guided tours. International galleries included Berlin-based Neugerriemschneider, Madrid Galeria Elba Benitez and Galeria Fernando Pradilla, Russian Vera Odyn, blue-chip America gallery David Zwirner, Portuguese Kubikgallery and Guatemalan Proyectos Ultravioleta. As part of the panel discussion scheduled on Latin American, Guatemalan artists Jorge de Leon joined in the debate on identity politics in Latin American art. 


One of the missions behind SP-Art is to support artists and projects and strengthening the artistic circuit, and this mission is materialised in the form of three awards presented to artists. This year Paul Setubal won the 7th SP-Art Residency Prize, Marcos Amaro Art Prize went to Marcelo Moscheta, and the SP-Arte Acquisition Awards went to Cristiano Lenhardt with the performance ‘Atoritoleituralogosh’. 


Among the big names, global powerhouses such as Ai Weiwei, Doris Salcedo and Ligia Clark were among the selection of artworks. Although installations and performances were abundant, Brazilians strong art-historical traditions in sculptures, Minimalist, concrete art and abstraction were significantly felt throughout the exhibition.


Respectively, reports show that the sales were slow this year and purchases remained within the Brazilian circuit. International gallery participation from abroad has continued to decrease by a lack of financial stability within the country. Although the agenda and the engagement between artists, collectors, institutions provide an invigorating scenario, it may not be as profitable for international galleries to have made the journey to the South. 


Nevertheless, SP-Art is still one of the most expected fairs in the region, serving as a platform for artists to interact with an eager audience. Next week be sure to follow ArteBA set in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz

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