The year 2018 will be a landmark moment in the history of the GAMeC, with the 15th edition of the Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi per l’Arte – EnterPrize, an important international art award dedicated to curators aged under 30. The Gallery initiated the competition in 2003, with the support of the Bonaldi family, with the intention of paying homage to Lorenzo Bonaldi’s love of art and his passion for collecting.

Since its establishment, through development of exhibition projects, the award has spotlighted the key role and significance of the curatorial figure on the international art scene. From 2005 it was been organized every two years, alternating the year of the assignment of the award with that of the realization of the winning project, and has been further integrated with a conference – Qui. Enter Atlas – International Symposium of Emerging Curators – dedicated to modernizing curatorial strategies, both in independent and institutional contexts.

The Premio Lorenzo Bonaldi per l’Arte – EnterPrize has engaged artists, critics, curators, museum directors, collectors and sector publishers worldwide, different for each edition, who each selected one candidate to present a new exhibition project. 

Enchanted Bodies / Fetish for Freedom is the brainchild of Bernardo Mosqueira, founder and director of the independent Solar dos Abacaxis space in Rio de Janeiro. An international panel of judges selected the exhibition proposal in May 2017, deeming it to “reflect profound changes in contemporary society while reading the exhibition space in an absolutely innovative and unusual way, placing the visitor at the centre of an active experience, interacting with the works of many artists”.

Developed from the epistemology and cosmovision of the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé religion, which sees the profound influence objects may have on people and their surroundings, the exhibition explores human ability to create objects that generate new freedom and strength, highlighting the capacity typical of the migrant body to generate and communicate its culture within a country other than that of its origins, at the same time becoming a user of the culture with which it comes into contact.

After researching the permanence and transformations of African heritage in Brazilian culture following diaspora and slavery, Mosqueira conceived a project that brings together works by 17 international artists whose origins, cultural legacy and artistic research differ, but as temporary migrants, nomads, refugees, deportees, immigrants, or exiles they share the day-to-day experience of being far from their place of birth: Abbas Akhavan, Tania Bruguera, Carolina Caycedo, Alia Farid, Meschac Gaba, Anawana Haloba, Rodrigo Hernández, Iman Issa, Tonico Lemos Auad, Maria Loboda, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Felipe Meres, Carlos Motta, Amalia Pica, Eric van Hove, Danh Vō and Haegue Yang.

What strikes the visitor entering the exhibition space is the position of the artworks, displayed in an elliptical arrangement and surrounded by straw mats typical of the sacred spaces of Afro-Brazilian culture. The way the works are laid out mimics the positions assumed by participants in Candomblé religious rites, and the mats spread out on the floor allow viewers to linger as long as they want in the room to immerse themselves in the art.

Mosqueira actually saw Spazio Zero as an open space enabling visitors to initiate a constructive dialogue with the exhibited works, while also pondering the possible cohabitation between individuals from different cultures. Again, the inspiration comes from the Candomblé, which developed when slaves from different African nations were forced to live together and began to share their knowledge so that each culture could withstand colonial violence and survive over time.