Rivane Neuenschwander’sart often involves participation on the part of the public. Her works can be read as games or as experiments, with all that the latter implies of potential variables, hypotheses to be tested, chance and empiricism. The materials she uses are modest and light and reflect the flexible social combinations that gather spontaneously around her works.
Created for the Biennale, Battle, by Brazilian conceptual artist Rivane Neuenschwander, is an installation combining the poetic tradition of Repente in Brazil’s Nordeste region, with concrete poetry, first practiced in the 1950s by Brazilian poet Agostino do Campos – in which language is freed from the constraints of syntax and phrasing, and the poem is considered as a ‘sensitive object’ – and the Situationists’ use of words to transform the urban environment into a theatre of transgression and political protest. Rivane Neuenschwander explores the meaning of words taken from protest banners and placards, from Brazil to Lyon: slogans of insurrection, freedom, resistance, utopia and justice. Transposed onto clothing labels – like fashion brands – the words form a lexicon that breaks away from the context of mass protest: a poetic, intimist alphabet which visitors can re-compose and take away, pinned to their clothes, so that they, too, become message-bearers of political poetry.
Rivane Neuenschwander is also taking part in the Biennale’s platform Veduta, across Greater Lyon.