Abramovic, William Forstyhe and Meg Stuart at the start of the BoCA Biennial

The second edition of the BoCA Biennial of Contemporary Arts, this year in Lisbon, Porto and Braga, begins on Friday with works by artists such as Marina Abramovic, William Forsythe and Meg Stuart.

With a program that crosses artistic areas until April 30, in the three cities, will present, in this edition of the biennial, 22 world premieres, and count on the participation of 52 Portuguese and foreign artists.

The event – which brings together the visual arts, performance, performing arts and music – aims to ‘continue to create new artistic cartography in less conventional spaces’ in the country, as pointed out in February, the artistic director, John Romão.

Among the artists whose works will be visible starting Friday, the opening day of the biennial, are Marina Abramovic, who will present the installation ‘Spirit House’ – created for the old municipal slaughterhouse in Caldas da Rainha in 1997 – and that now returns, to be exhibited in Lisbon, in the Carpintarias de São Lázaro.

‘Spirit House’ consists of five videos that dialogue with each other, in which Marina Abramovic appears in different performances created for the camera: ‘Dissolution’, ‘Insomnia’, ‘Luminosity’, ‘Dozing Consciousness’ and ‘Lost Souls’.

BoCA also presents, for the first time in Portugal, as of Friday, the video-installation ‘Alignigung 2’ by the choreographer William Forstyhe, in three museums of three cities: the National Museum of Ancient Art (Lisbon), the Museu Nacional Soares dos Reis (Porto) and the D. Diogo de Sousa Museum (Braga).

‘Alignigung 2’ is a hybrid of choreography, film and sculpture, and features the musical collaboration of Ryoji Ikeda.

Another dance creator – Meg Stuart – who also ventured into the visual arts and created the video-installation ‘The only possible city’ for the Biennial of Manifesta Contemporary Art, will now be recontextualized in the Alberta Chapel, inside the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon.

On the other hand, from the cinema area, the directors João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata will show the installation ‘National Identity (Príncipe Real)’ at the Water Museum / Patriarcal Reservoir, in Jardim Príncipe Real, in Lisbon.

There they bring together a recontextualization of the bodies that filmmakers have been filming, film, photography and film props, in a reflection on identities, gender identity and national identity.

In addition to the 22 world premieres, 15 national premieres are also planned during this second edition of the biennial, which began in 2017, which this year presents Braga as the stage for decentralizing the visibility of artists and their projects.

Theatres, museums, galleries, discos, churches and other cultural spaces and monuments of the three cities will receive creations unprecedented worldwide, or for the first time presented in Portugal, among them works by choreographer Marlene Monteiro Freitas, Biennial of Venice, by the writer Gonçalo M. Tavares with The Spacialists, research project of Art and Architecture, by the researcher Yolanda Norton, voice of ‘black feminism’, by photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, winner of the Turner Prize, playwright Angelica Lidell, musician Gabriel Ferrandini and the Portuguese artist Pedro Barateiro.

Marlene Monteiro Freitas, choreographer and dancer, will present her first exhibition/installation ‘Cattivo – Installation for Score Shelves and Other Materials’ at the Monastery of São Bento da Vitória, Porto, in a world premiere.

The writer Gonçalo M. Tavares & Os Espacialistas will create ‘a laboratory of the way to feel above average’, from the theme ‘Animals and Money’, in performance conferences that will have as stage the Trindade Theater in Lisbon, the Rivoli Theater in Porto, and Theatro Circo in Braga.

Angelica Lidell, director and playwright, will premiere a new piece, ‘Lo Frío y lo Cruel’, for an unconventional space at the Monastery of Tibães in Braga, and also drummer Gabriel Ferrandini will present his first stage creation with text and staging, at the Teatro Municipal do Porto and at the D. Maria II National Theater.

Wolfgang Tillmans will be giving his first electronic music concert in Portugal.

The Beyoncé Mass show by Yolanda Norton is part of the process of ‘combating the silencing and erasure of black, African and Afro-descendant women in history and in the present time’, appealing to Beyoncé’s weight as a public figure in a which also involves INMUNE – Instituto de Mulher Negra in Portugal.

The installation ‘Spirit House’, by the artist Marina Abramovic, will be for the first time in Lisbon, in the Carpintarias de São Lázaro.

The artist Pedro Barateiro will debut his first creation on stage, designed for the National Theater D. Maria II.

Other performances include the choreography and interpretation of Volmir Cordeiro entitled ‘Rua’, and interpretation of ‘Stimmung’, the historical piece of Karlheinz Stockhausen, by the Gulbenkian choir, at the Lux nightclub in Lisbon.

As for the educational program of the Biennial, it will have as a special project a homage to the plastic artist Helena Almeida (1934-2018), entitled ‘Sit Me, Listen to Me, See Me’, three emblematic works in the artist’s career.

This project, named after the homonymous series Helena Almeida, mobilized, since January, 15 students of the Superior School of Music of Lisbon, the Superior School of Music and Arts of the Spectacle of Porto and the Department of Music of the University of Minho, in Braga, working with three curators, Ana Cristina Cachola, Delfim Sardo and Filipa Oliveira.

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