Beto Shwafaty (São Paulo, 1977) is a conceptual artist and researcher based in Brazil. He holds an MA in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies from the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti – NABA (Milan, 2010) and accompanied the group of Simon Starling at the Staedelschule (Frankfurt, 2010/2011). Shwafaty has been involved with collective, curatorial, and spatial practices since the early 2000s, and as a result, his own practice is connected to contemporary spheres of critical design, of spatial politics, of the knowledge economy and of visual culture. Thus, Shwafaty develops a research-based practice (on spaces, histories and visualities), which seeks to connect formally and conceptually political, social and cultural issues that are converging to the field of art.
Recent exhibitions: “P33_Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” [33o Panorama da Arte Brasileira], MAM São Paulo, 2013; 9th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, 2013; “Love and Hate to Lygia Clark”, Zacheta National Gallery, Warsaw,...Poland, 2013; “Conversations Pieces”, NBK, Berlin, 2013; X Architecture Biennial of São Paulo, CCSP, 2013; “Counter Bartering”, Palacio das Artes, Belo Horizonte, 2013, and “Espaço Fonte”, Recife, 2013; “Eter-nal Tour”, São Paulo, 2012; “Mythologies”, Cité des Arts, Paris, 2011 and MAM, São Paulo, 2013; “Shadowed by the future”, São Paulo, 2010; 4th IABR – Urbaninform Section Rotterdam, 2009, 3o Utrecht Manifest Biennial on Social Design, Utrecht , Netherlands,2009; “Rumos Itaú Cultural”, São Paulo, 2006.
Recently, he has published ‘The Life of the Centers’ (2013), a docu-fiction photo-book in which historical and urban fluxes of development of three regions of São Paulo are explored. In 2014 he will participate at Temporada de Projetos [ Project Season] of Paço das Artes (São Paulo); “PArC Solo Projects” (Lima, Peru) and at the project “O Artista Como… ” (São Paulo).
Awards and scholarships: research residency at Jardim Canada Center for Art and Technology (Nova Lima, Brazil , 2013), Graham Foundation grant exhibition (Chicago , 2013); PROAC – support for artist book (São Paulo , 2013); Rede Nacional Funarte 10a edição – 2013 (” O Artista Como…” Project); Rede Nacional Funarte 9a edição – 2012 (Projeto Contra Escambos); Mário Pedrosa Award II for Cultural Essays (Fundaj – Recife , 2012); PROAC – support for photographic book (São Paulo , 2013); Art Residence at Eco & Narciso / RES – Ò (Torino, 2012) and acquisitive prizes in the museum exhibitions: Ribeirão Preto (2006), Piracicaba (2003) and MAC Campinas (2002), all Brazilian art institutions.
In my practice I am concerned with diverse issues regarding public space, conviviality and visual culture in specific sociocultural and political contexts. Using diverse methods and languages – that ranges from sculptural and spatial situations, design and printed matter to research-based and docu-fictional strategies – I aim to explore the possibilities of being at same time a productive agent and a reflexive and critical actor, where art production becomes a way to approach the real as at the same time an opportunity to question pre-assumed positions.
The materialization of my projects can be considered as hybrid units of information, assumed as possibilities to generate (or recover) specific sets of knowledge. Through notions and acts of critique, edition, appropriation and translation I intend to create situations where issues and debates about the functions and communicative qualities of art may emerge and be articulated within certain levels of the society and the public sphere.
Considering art projects in this way – and under the lens of an expanded and complex notion of ready-made and site specificity – I try to build settings interweaved by overlapping narratives in oder to instigate the spectator’s awareness about the complexity of certain dynamics and questions regarding representation, validation and negotiation within a given sociocultural structures. This process informs productive activities that reflect a broader interest in art as pro positive and constructive structures: as processes of production and distribution of aesthetic, knowledge, techniques, designs and communication that explores critical reflections on institutional, public and social levels.