The great central span holds a particularly privileged location in the Pavilhão Bienal, outlined as it is by the enormous ramp from the ground floor and the guard rails between the second and third levels and it stand a generous fifteen metres high. One of the enormous advantages of this span is that from it, some of the work may be seen from numerous points of view.
In the following images, one can see the manifold possibilities this space offers and just how differently it has been occupied in the biennials since 1981. At times it brought together various artists, on other occasions work on a far grander scale took over. It has even been a stage for performances…
6th Bienal (1981). “Obras do Núcleo I, the aim of which was to unite works that had a relationship with each other, ‘analogies of language’. The space was no longer the reserve of niche groups for each national representative.” (Catálogo Bienal 50 anos, p.192.) Photo: Agência Estado
18th Bienal (1985). Performance by Jonathan Borofsky, Seven chattering men and Flying figure, 1983.
19th Bienal (1987). Installation by Tunga, Enquanto flora a borda tomba magnética de acúleos zumbidos a trilha atapetara aérea ataraxia pendular arrepio marsupial que mesmo hominídeo cabia fenosos pelos ao lóbulo rastreara assistência fractal hesita-o animal de níquel vêm o voo entomológico fêmea asculta cabeça genomas penetrarás, 1982.
20th Bienal (1989). Installation by Joseph Beuys, Lightning with stags in its glare, 1958-87. Photo Agência Estado
21st Bienal (1991). Work by Ichi Ikeda, Water Mirror in Sao Paulo, 1991. Photo: Sergio Amaral/ AE
22nd Biennial (1994). Work by Lucio Fontana, Ambiente spaziale al neon, 1951, and Richard Long, White River, 1994. Photo: Fernando Chaves
23rd Bienal (1996). Work by Anish Kapoor, Turning the World Inside Out, 1995, and Tomie Ohtake, Untitled, 1995. Photo: Fernando Chaves
24th Bienal (1998). Work by Choijeonghwa, Encore, Encore, 1998. Photo: Gal Oppido
25th Bienal (2002). Work by Fabrice Gygi, La Vigie, 2002. Photo: Juan Guerra
26th Bienal (2004). Work by Artur Barrio, Impróprio para o consumo humano, 2002, and David Batchelor, The Spectrum of Brick Lane, 2002-03. Photo: Juan Guerra
27th Bienal (2006). Work by Didier Faustino, Les racines du mal, 2006, and Tomás Saraceno, On air, 2004-05. Photo: Juan Guerra
28th Bienal (2008). Work by Alexander Pilis, Arquitetura paralaxe: Desaparecer, aparecer, 2008.
29th Bienal (2010). Installation by Nuno Ramos, Bandeira branca, (White flag) 2008/2010. Photo: Duas Águas