1st Porto Photography Biennial in Portugal discusses art and sustainability with 16 exhibitions

16 exhibitions, 14 city spaces, 11 curators and 53 national and international artists make up the program of the 1st Porto Photography Biennial, which takes place from May 16 to July 2.

Discussing cultural and environmental changes and recognizing the human being as a force for the construction and destruction of the planet are the starting points for the first edition of the event in Porto that wants to promote creation, debate and reflection. "Ci.CLO Bienal'19 emerges as a consequence of the work developed by the Ci.CLO platform, an independent research and creation structure in the field of photography that establishes a relationship with other artistic, environmental and social disciplines. The platform was founded in 2015 and develops a continuous work of experimentation in collaboration with artists, offering a space dedicated to the creation of essay ", begins to explain Virgílio Ferreira, artistic director and photographer 25 years ago, in an interview with the Observer.

"Adaptation and Transition" is the theme of the first Porto Photography Biennial, whose main challenge is to think about "the symptoms of the ecological crisis and re-imagine other strategies of social and environmental regeneration through artistic practice." According to the official, this event "stands as a platform to promote the debate about art and sustainability, deconstructing traditional ethics and values ​​and exploring new ways of acting."

From Thursday Porto receives 16 exhibitions, 11 curators and 53 Portuguese, Polish, German, Italian or English artists, but also students of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, Escola Superior Artística do Porto and Escola Artistico Soares dos Reis, who will present mostly unpublished works here. 

"There is a concern and interest in encouraging and stimulating artistic creation with emerging artists, providing them with not only an exhibition space for their works, but also curative guidance and guidance throughout the project development process," says Virgílio Ferreira .

From the program, which runs until July 2, there are exhibitions that will happen in 14 spaces of the city: Gardens of the Crystal Palace, Rectory of the University of Porto, Galleries and atriums of the building of the Paços do Concelho of the City Hall of Porto , Mira Forum, Palace of Belomonte, Portuguese Center of Photography, Museum of the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, Salut Au Monde !, Casa do Infante, Panel Gallery of the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto, Palace Viscondes de Balsemão, Casa Tait, São Bento and Aliados Subway Station.

Krysztof Candrowicz, artistic director of the Hamburg Photography Triennial, curates the exhibition "Stories on Earthly Survival" at the Center for Portuguese Photography. The exhibition brings together seven international artists, including Mandy Barker of the UK, who will present the Soup, Sand, Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, a dialogue between photography and scientific research that explores the problem of plastic waste in the oceans. Curated by Jose Maia, the Mira Forum will receive the exile exhibition of the landscape, where Chana de Moura and Dinis Santos, selected artists at Ci.CLO Open Call, will present works produced and designed exclusively for the Ci.CLO Bienal'19. Jayne Dyer, an artist, Australian art critic and academic who has worked on issues such as the identity, waste, and (dis) functionality of urban and natural environments, will present This Savage Garden, an artistic intervention at five locations in the Crystal Palace Gardens ", Emphasizes the artistic director.

Another point is the Visual Space of Change, a photographic project that brings together visual artists, architects and curators "in an exercise of reflection on the concerns related to the transformation of territory, public space and the environment." It is an exhibition of contemporary photography projects through the projection of video and photography in the São Bento and Aliados Subway Stations.

After the Biennial in Porto some developed works will be selected for national and international itinerary in cultural institutions, such as museums and festivals, "promoting their visibility among various audiences".

Alongside the exhibitions, the initiative also includes workshops, public forums, creative projects, artistic residencies, a symposium and the edition of a Green Guide. "It is a publication that aims to map the Portuguese initiatives committed to environmental and social issues, encouraging artists and the community to build for the integration of the arts in raising awareness for sustainability," explains Virgílio Ferreira, photographer and artistic director of the event.

Ci.CLO Bienal'19 has the support of the Directorate General of Arts and the City Council of Porto, as well as international reference partners such as the Asia-Europe Foundation and the Photography Triennial of Hamburg, one of the largest photography events from Europe.