The interior of Oscar Niemeyer’s Pavilion. Photo: Andres Otero.


SÃO PAULO - As we enter fall, the art world has been heating up – and the first big event is the 30th Sao Paulo Biennial, which runs through 9 December. This edition is likely to get even more visitors and interest than usual since South America, particularly Brazil, has become such a big factor in the art market in the last few years (and the global economy has crept back a bit since the last one).

I dropped a line to the event’s associate curator, Tobi Meyer, a New York–based writer and curator who directs Ludlow 38, a contemporary art space, to find out more.

With all the biennials, art fairs and other events around the world, how does this one stand out?

The São Paulo Biennial is one of the oldest in the world, along with Venice and Pittsburgh. The first edition took place in 1951 and it is now perhaps the most visited art exhibition in South America. The 30th edition is titled The Imminence of Poetics and is about the language of the unspoken, the forbidden and the as-yet unimagined – what is about to happen, the future as unpredictable potentiality. For us – a team under chief curator Luis Perez-Oramas – it has been important to bring together artists from different backgrounds and generations.

Chief Curator Luis Perez-Oramas of The Imminence of Poetics.

How does the city of São Paulo – so big and densely populated – affect the biennial?

That is something that we have thought about a lot. It’s spread throughout the city, and I cannot remember another São Paulo Biennial where the visitor has so much possibility to engage with the local context. We have been collaborating with a series of small house museums as well as kunsthalle-like spaces and museums – even the train station in the Luz neighborhood, which is used by more than 400,000 commuters daily. Departing from the Biennial building, visitors find Argentine artist Leandro Tartaglia’s new work All in your mind  - a journey in two acts, which takes visitors on a mobile theatre audio play in a van through the city.

Mobile Radio, Do you listen to two radio stations while falling asleep?, 2012. 
Courtesy of Mobile Radio.

What’s one work that people should particularly look forward to?

For their appearance in São Paulo, Mobile Radio – a project by Germany-based artists Knut Aufermann and Sarah Washington – collaborates with a large group of artists, musicians and radio producers. These include a series of productions sourced from audio archives in São Paulo and abroad. You can listen in live via and