By Liam Higgins
Cuenca’s 2018 International Art Bienal kicked off Friday with a variety of street performances and the official dedication ceremony at Pumapungo Theater. One of Latin America’s largest art bienals, the event continues through the first week of February in three dozen locations.
The bienal theme is Estructuras Vivientes, or Living Structures, representing the emphasis on installation art.
According to Venezuelan curator Jesús Fuenmayor the exhibits are designed to include the public in “a plural experience that is, at the same time, aesthetic, sensory, intellectual, emotional, sociological and anthropological.” He continues: “This is experimental art that aims to immerse people in a complete experience apart from the outdated two-dimensional views we see in museums and galleries.”
Fuenmayor, who has curated beinal and major exhibitions throughout the world, says there is also an emphasis on “fun and wondererment” in the 2018 bienal.
In addition to the 47 official exhibits, there are six Cuenca locations exhibiting “parallel” bienal works.
Given its size, bienal organizers recommend the public view the exhibits in three separate tours.
The first tour is in the historic district and includes exhibits in the Museum of Modern Art on San Sebastian Plaza; Biennial headquarters on Simon Bolívar at Estévez de Toral; the Museo de la Ciudad (the former Central School) on Gran Colombia at Malo; Casa de la Cultura Theater on Luis Cordero; Contemporary Process Art Gallery, next to the theater; the Governor’s Gallery on Parque Calderon; Conceptas Museum on Hermano Miguel; Museomático on Presidente Borrero; the Civic Plaza, adjacent to the mercado; and at San Blas Plaza.
The second tour is the old Cuenca electric power plant on the Yanuncay River, at Av. Loja.
The third route is along the Río Tomebamba, including exhibitions at Batan Multicines; San Roque Plaza; El Vado Plaza; Casa de los Arcos (in El Vado); University of Cuenca Museum (Av. 12 de Abril Avenue and Solano); the Medicine Museum on 12 de Abril; Alianza Francesa (Tadeo Torres and Solano); Parque de la Madre Park; Pumapungo Museum; Pumapungo Archaeological Park, behind the museum; and “Saladentro” Gallery (Paseo 3 de Noviembre, below Todos Santos).
For full bienal details, pick up an agenda at any of the exhibition sites or go to the official bienal website at www.bienaldecuenca.org