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Reflections on Brazil: Fiona Bradley, Director, Fruitmarket Gallery

by Fiona Bradley

Research trip to Brazil led by the British Council and supported by Creative Scotland, September 2014.

I was delighted to be invited to participate in this trip. Goals for me were both personal and institutional: I had never been to Brazil and was interested to see its institutions for art and the São Paulo Bienal, and The Fruitmarket Gallery has an exhibition of Brazilian art coming up (Possibilities of the Object: Experiments in Modern and Contemporary Brazilian Art, curated by Paulo Venancio Filho, opening March 2015) and I wanted to make contact with some of the lending institutions and inform myself and my colleagues a little better about the art world from which these objects are coming. Brazil is a somewhat daunting prospect in terms of arranging an independent trip, so I was pleased to be invited on this one.

Given that Brazil is known for amazing architecture, I was hoping for some inspiration for The Fruitmarket Gallery’s redevelopment plans – though our plans are rather more modest than anything we saw in Brazil…

I was also keen to spend time away from Scotland with colleagues from Scotland, to investigate possibilities for sharing and collaboration and to get to know people a little better.

This is the first British Council organised trip I have been on. I got a lot out of it, saw some great architecture (especially concrete staircases), some good art, and had some good conversations. It was very well organised, benefiting especially from the knowledge and contacts of Effie and Liliane, the two Brazilian organisers.

Key learning points for me:
• The curatorial programme run by Paulo Myiada (talked about in the summary of the Tomie Ohtake Institute, see download below
• The insights around engagement and access at MAM
• The history and actuality of the Bienal
• The sheer beauty of the Daros Collections and building
• Some good contacts, institutional and personal, several of whom have been useful for our forthcoming exhibition.

Please see here for fuller notes on all venues and visits.