Plínio Palhano

In the 90s, Pernambuco thrived with movements and cultural agencies: in Recife the independent production multiplied and in Olinda both the galleries and the popular art were in high gear.

The Instituto Ricardo Brennand, founded by the entrepreneur Ricardo Brennand, with its exceptional exhibition of Eckout works, the displays at the Espaço Cultural Bandepe, organized by Carlos Trevi and, specially, the Instituto de Arte Contemporânea - IAC, in Recife, from 96 to 98, managed by Helena Pedra, are institutions which show both aesthetic competence and party independence.

The IAC, for a short period, rallied artists, scholars, entrepreneurs and the public and brought, from several regions of Brazil, the discussion about the visual arts in education, culture and science, as well as the interchange of information with England, Italy, France and Belgium. The IAC, as an advanced cultural venue, was responsible for the appearance of new artists and it spread over Recife the sense of contemporaneousness, exerting influence on both Museu de Arte Moderna Aloísio Magalhães and the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco. It also guaranteed a chair for Pernambuco at the Advisory Commission of the Salão Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Only a few hubs, in a time of crisis, have interacted so vigorously in their milieu. Even though the IAC is an institution, it did not follow the official models.

Today, Pernambuco has its 45th Salon crammed with polemics, as usual, ranging from the contestations to the members of the jury to the choice of artists, etc. The contemporary discussion is not only about the artists´ names but, mainly, about the exhibition conception and the way it reaches a general view of what happened in the state and of its rank in Brazil.

This new edition was set up to perform, at one stroke, several exhibitions at the same time at the facilities of the ex-plant Tacaruna, when the main focus ought to be a display of unseen works which would go in for prizes: research scholarships. The other parts of the Salon - the ones intending to show the importance of the artistic movements, the didactic ones or those on the emerging groups - would be lodged in different rooms. Each part gives an extraordinary dimension of its high level, achieved by surveys and deep studies on the plastic arts of Pernambuco.

The Special Room, which hung the production of almost thirty selected artists, lacked good sense. As the criteria of selection were not publicized, the public ignored, for exemple, if those artists were invited to take part in the Special Room because of their set of works, because of the historical importance of the works, because of the artists´ performance on the art market or because of private deference. And finally to whom were granted the scholarships widely advertised as an innovatory action of this salon. As it is a public salon, the stances should follow ethical and universal behaviors, such as edicts, guidelines, criteria and a commission to give a decision on the works. An annual salon is to showcase the latest aesthetic researches. Toward that end, it just needs a board of curators prone to give a wide-ranging idea of the display as far as it reaches.

It is clear that our conception of these salons is linked to what happens in the First World countries, inasmuch as the globalization forces us to act so. As we crave for good results overseas, we try our best to replicate those countries. It is easy to put the blame on our economic shortages when our performances are unacceptable. However, the initiative in revivifying the Salon has in itself a grand merit: ours is one of the most important and it has followed several creative generations.