The Biennial of São Paulo is a large-scale international exhibition of contemporary art held every two years in the city of São Paulo in Brazil.
The prophetic-sounding theme for the 34th event, “Though It’s Dark, Still I Sing,” was revealed before the coronavirus pandemic; and when the Biennal was postponed for a year, Mohri altered the theme for her work – facilitated by telecommunications during the pandemic – to “the absence of the physical presence of a lover who is only experienced as a voice.” She created a work based on the overlapping concepts of the long-distance relationship between Marcel Duchamp and his lover Maria Martins (incidentally a driving force behind the first Biennal), the breakdown of their love affair, and today’s over-emphasis on telecommunications. After completing half the work in Japan, the plan was to complete the rest in Brazil, but due to the spread of coronavirus, Mohri was forced to change the way the work was created. The work was entirely produced in Japan; Mohri leased a domestic exhibition space of a similar size, recorded a video showing a temporary installation of the finished work and instructions regarding its display, and based on those instructions, exhibition staff on the Brazil side assembled the installation by themselves. Although preparation proved extremely difficult, being the first attempt of its kind for the artist, and the fact that the work was remodeled to make it easy for local staff in Brazil to understand, the exhibition was carried off successfully.
Yuko Mohri “São Paulo” Executive Committee
Established as a preparatory organization for the exhibition of Mohri’s work at the 34th Biennial of São Paulo, which she was due to participate in and which was originally scheduled to be held from September, 2020.
Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, São Paulo, Brazil