The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Questioning the pertinence of the 1971 São Paulo Biennial, a letter inviting artists to participate in the Contrabienal [Counter-Biennial] was promoted and signed by artists and intellectuals who belong to both Museo Latinoamericano and the MICLA [Latin American Cultural Independence Movement]. It rejects any cultural act organized by a government (like the Brazilian) that systematically carries out repression based on torture. The letter also mentions that the organizers are informally inviting—in order to avoid rejections previously received in writing. It is making clear that Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAyC) in Buenos Aires is serving as one of the official promoters to the event. As a consequence, they request broad collaboration in order to formalize a document on how important this rebuttal to the biennial can be.
This is an invitation extended to the artists and later included in the book Contrabienal [Counter-Biennial] designed and printed by a collective made up by Luis Wells, Luis Camnitzer, Carla Stellweg, Liliana Porter, and Teodoro Maus. There, the initiative of opposition to the Brazilian biennial (so-called “The Dictatorial Biennial”) was displayed.
Given the fact that in Brazil—like many other Latin American countries during the 1970s—was ruled by an adamant regime of censorship, repression, and torture, this document brings to light one of the strategies of resistance wielded by artists to confront any kind of dictatorial policies. In this sense, the links of this source may be observed with other responses sent by the artists, as well as with the note submitted by Gordon Matta (dated May 19, 1971) in addition to the open letter written by Jorge Glusberg, both included in the same volume.