From artists to audiences: a new market order

With independent galleries, shared and open studios, in addition to exhibitions, new practices demonstrate how artists are reinventing themselves in São Paulo

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Banana Space

Lack of structure or incentive, or a desire to do something new, in a different way, or to unite similar purposes, or even a lack of identification with existing galleries and spaces – the reasons can be diverse and extensive, but the fact is that new artsy addresses keep popping up in São Paulo, concentrated mainly in the Barra Funda, Santa Cecília and Centro regions. The formats are as varied as the motivations that led these artists to found the spaces, which range from shared studios to independent galleries. Here are six addresses that are worth knowing!

Ateliê 62 – Rafaela Foz, Alice Lara, Jade Marra, Raphael Escobar, Marina Borges and Mariano Barone

Alice Lara, Rafaela Foz, Mariano Barone, Marina Borges, Jade Marra e Raphael Escobar (da esq. à dir.) no Ateliê 62.
Alice Lara, Rafaela Foz, Mariano Barone, Marina Borges, Jade Marra and Raphael Escobar (from left to right) at Ateliê 62.

Multimedia artist Rafaela Foz had previously founded an artistic space called Breu, where various activities took place, but with the pandemic and the closure of the old space, a need and a desire to (re)invent something arose. From there, Ateliê 62 was born, a space shared by six artists on the sixth floor, room 62, of a building in the heart of São Paulo. 

There, Rafaela Foz, Alice Lara, Jade Marra, Raphael Escobar, Marina Borges and Mariano Barone produce their works, exchange experiences and learn from each other. The shared studio, in addition to freeing them from “artistic loneliness”, also allows them to establish themselves in the center of the city, something that would be financially unfeasible individually. This past Saturday, May 28th, the artists held an “open studio” and welcomed the public into their space, allowing the exchange to extend even beyond artist-artist contact, but reaching the general public, which has a nice opportunity to get to know their creative space. These openings are frequent, keep an eye on the group social media to stay on schedule.

Cave – Athos Santiago, Camilla Bologna and Iran Costa

"THE grotto result of an intense experience in different movements of artistic expression. It is a space that was born to spread art within all its depths and forms of expression”, says Iran Costa, who forms the trio of founding artists of the space alongside Athos Santiago, Camilla Bologna.

The main objective was to promote a democratic space, where artists at the beginning of their careers can exhibit alongside well-established ones. The space, located in Barra Funda, is made up of rooms for exhibitions and courses, a collection and a space for an independent publisher of low-circulation prints and national and international fanzines signed by the artists. 

Inaugurated in 2021, the Grotto has already hosted three exhibitions, one collective and two individual. At each exhibition, the artists produce a type of engraving that is for sale at very affordable prices, which helps to spread and democratize art, in addition to contributing to the financial maintenance of the space. 

GDA (Artists Gallery) – Bruno Baptistelli, Carolina Cordeiro, Frederico Filippi and Maíra Dietrich 

Maíra Dietrich, Bruno Bapstistelli, Carolina Cordeiro e Frederico Filippi (da esq. à dir.).
Maíra Dietrich, Bruno Bapstistelli, Carolina Cordeiro and Frederico Filippi (from left to right).

Bruno Baptistelli, Carolina Cordeiro, Frederico Filippi and Maíra Dietrich are the four members of Artists Gallery, which as the name implies, was founded by artists and for artists. Conceived by Baptistelli, who was soon supported by the other members, the project was born out of a need to find a space and an identity in a sector that is often too rigid for artists, who cannot produce freely and need to “adapt” their creative processes to specific supports or even to a specific style. “In our case, we realized that there wasn't much space for the type of work we do, we needed to create a place with which we could identify. We needed to have this place, even to make the work rotate. ”, explains Carolina Cordeiro. 

The artists work in a shed in Barra Funda, where they set up a studio shared not only by themselves, but also by other artists. Today, GDA's exhibition space is nomadic and depends on each project and exhibition. According to Baptistelli, in addition to the upcoming exhibitions that are on their radar, they hope to hold “open-ateliers” and invite the public to get to know their innovative production up close. 

Massapê Projects – Mano Penalva 

Massapê space in exhibition setup. (Credit: Marina Rodrigues)

O Massapê Projects is a “platform for dialogue and production of contemporary art”, according to Penalva bro, the artist who conceived the project in 2018. Located in the Santa Cecília neighborhood, the space functions as a gallery managed by the artists themselves and also as a shared studio, where artists Mano Penalva, Marcelo Pacheco, Marina Rodrigues, Fabiana Preti and Tchelo work. . 

Since its inauguration, the space has already hosted 23 exhibitions, including collective and individual exhibitions of the most varied types of artists, from those already established in the market to others at the beginning of their careers. “Some artists exhibited for the first time at Massapê and soon after went to other galleries”, says Penalva, who believes that the fertile soil of the platform is not just in the name that refers to the historic soil of the Zona da Mata in northeastern Brazil. 

In addition to art production and exhibitions, Massapê also hosts events for lectures and conversations, which create an environment where art not only happens but is also the subject of reflection. Penalva also cites the sector's difficulties and thinks of the space as an “encouraging” environment, a place where exchanges between artists take place and where dialogue about art is present.

Bananal Art and Culture

Founded in December 2021 by curator Clarissa Ximenes and producer Isabela Ximenes, the space operates in an old two-story mechanic workshop that was renovated to house, on the top floor, a shared studio for artists Bruna Amaro, Bruna Ximenes, Carmen Garcia, Gabriel Urasaki, Julia Contreiras, Juliana dos Santos, Leonardo Matsuhei, Luis Filipe Porto, Monica Chan and Paulo Delgado, who actively participate in the space. On the floor below, there is an exhibition space which, despite the renovations, maintains the “architectural memory” of the old workshop, which inspired the first exhibition in the space, entitled Exhausts.

For Clarissa, the reason for creating the space is, in fact, the sector's lack of infrastructure, which harms artists and makes them unite and create independent spaces. There is also a bar in the space, which in addition to integrating artists and exhibitions with the public, contributes to the cost of the space.

Olhão – Cleo Döbberthin

Espaço Olhão during the most recent exhibition, entitled SUPERNATURAL.

Founded and managed by the artist Cléo Döbberthin, the Olhão is an independent space located in Barra Funda that functions as an “experimental territory that seeks to reflect and act on contemporary practices in the field of the arts”. In addition, the space also promotes meetings between those who belong to the artistic community and the general public. 

The space was opened in 2018, with a collective exhibition entitled Unidos da Barra Funda, in which more than 20 artists participated who explored the relationship between themselves and with the exhibition space, which had not yet been renovated. Since then, there have been 7 more exhibitions that received artists such as Ana Mazzei, Yuli Yamagata and Paulo Whitaker. 

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