Bildrecht: Brooklyn Museum CC BY 3.0

Talks with Objects

Art History and Material Culture

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Claudia Mattos talks about the project Talks with Objects.

The capacity of discourse and social performance of objects has become an important focus in the Humanities. Anthropologists Alfred Gell and Bruno Latour, each in his own manner, emphasize the active role that things acquire through their interaction with humans and other living beings, classifying them as part of the network of social relations.
Confronting the materiality of the object creates a favorable situation for questioning current discursive practices, particularly in the field of Art History, and to examine closely the relationships we establish with things.
In this context, the polarity subject-object needs to be revisited.

Departing from the premise that objects are social agents as much as humans are, the series Talks with Objects proposes dialogs with objects that are in a tense position when confronted with the universe referred to as “art.”

The conference invites specialists from diverse disciplines and those interested in material culture to “have a conversation” with an object, which will sit in among the participants. Confronting the materiality of the object creates a favorable situation for questioning current discursive practices, particularly in the field of Art History, and to examine closely the relationships we establish with things. In this context, space will be dedicated above all to a non-European perspective on Art History.

Talks with Objects (Conversas com objetos para niños, em Quito)

Talks with Objects ( Afro Brasil Museu​m, São Paulo)

Talks with Objects (Conference in Belém)

Talks with Objects (Conference in Rio de Janeiro)

Gabi Ngcobo

Curator and artist

South Africa

Is one of the co-founders of the collaborative platform Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR) and a faculty member at the Wits University School of Arts. She will join the curatorial team for the 32nd Biennial of São Paulo in 2016. She is also one of the participants in the Museal Episode.

Amy Buono

Art historian

USA / Brazil

Amy Buono received her PhD in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of California Santa Barbara. She is currently working on her new monograph entitled Encarcerados: os artefatos afrobrasileiros no Museu da Polícia Civil do Rio de Janeiro [Incarcerated: Afro-Brazilian Artifacts in the Rio de Janeiro Civil Police Museum] on the visual culture of crime and criminality in nineteenth and twentieth-century Rio as manifested in the city’s pedagogical, museological, and scientific circles. She will participate in the episode Observatory of the South.

Pablo Lafuente

Writer, researcher and curator


Joined the curatorial team for the 31st Biennial of São Paulo in 2014. Prior to that, he was an editor for Afterall Journal and of Afterall’s Exhibition Histories Series, as well as a Reader at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. From 2008 to 2013 he was also associate curator at the Office for Contemporary Norwegian Art in Oslo. He is a participant in the Museal Episode.

Alexandre Romariz Sequeira

Artist and photographer


Born in 1961 in Belém, holds a master's in Art and Technology from UFMG, is a doctoral candidate in Art at the same institution and a professor at the Institute of Art Sciences (ICA) at the Federal University of Pará (UFPA). Is developing projects that establish connections between photography and social alterity, and has participated in meetings, seminars and exhibits in Brazil as well as abroad.

Marcelo Rezende



Marcelo Rezende is director of the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia (MAM-BA) and is going to host the first meeting of the museal episode. Besides his position in the MAM, he also works as a writer, critic and curator. In 2014, he was the chef curator of the 3rd Biennal da Bahia.

Bruno Moreschi

Artist and researcher


Doctoral candidate in visual arts at Unicamp, having studied also at the University of Arts in Helsinki. In 2016, carried out research rewarded by Rumos Itaú Cultural on official discourses present in art history books.

Omar Ribeiro Thomaz



Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Unicamp and in the Graduate programs in Social Anthropology and History at the same university, focuses his research on the south of Mozambique and Haiti.

Ricardo Basbaum

Artist and writer


Professor at the Instituto de Artes at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Has participated in the 20th Sydney Biennial (2006) and in documenta 12 (2007). Is the author of Manual do artista-etc / Manual of the artist-etc. (Azougue, 2013).

Roberto Conduru



Professor of History and Theory of Art at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, was curator of África Aqui Agora (Africa Here and Now, Sesc Quitandinha, 2015) and Incorporation – Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Art (Central for Contemporary Art, 2011).

Thierry Dufrêne

Professor and curator


Professor of Art History at the Université de Nanterre, was vice-director-general of the National Institute for Art History (INHA), responsible for its international relations.

Éder Oliveira



Holds an advanced degree in Artistic Education and Plastic Arts from the Universidade Federal do Pará, is a painter and develops works related to portraits, taking as his main subject the Amazonian man. In 2014, participated in the 31st São Paulo Biennial.

Nelson Sanjad



Holds a PhD in the History of Sciences and Health from the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, and completed postdoctoral studies at the Museum of Natural History of the Citizen Community in Bern (Naturhistorisches Museum der Bürgergemeinde Bern). Is a researcher at the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi/MCTI.

Ayrson Heráclito

Visual artist, curator and professor


Professor of art at the Universidade Federal do Recôncavo da Bahia, has works on display at the Museum of World Cultures in Frankfurt (Museum der Weltkulturen em Frankfurt), the Museu de Arte do Rio, the Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia and Videobrasil. Was head curator of the 3rd Biennial of Bahia.

Juliana Bevilacqua



Holds a doctorate in Social History from the Universidade de São Paulo and is author of the book Homens de Ferro (Men of Iron). Is a member of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association. Has served as educator and researcher at the Museu Afro Brasil.

Michal Helfman



Teacher at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. Multidisciplinary artist working in various disciplines including sculpture, architecture, video and drawings.

Claudia Mattos

Professor, psychologist, and art historian


Professor at Unicamp and director of the project Expanding Art History: Teaching Non-European Art at Unicamp, funded by the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles.

Juana Paillalef C.

Museum's director


A Mapuche wife, mother and grandmother, originally from the Maquehue territory, a region in Araucanía, which today is called Comuna de Padre las Casas. She earned a Master’s in Intercultural Bilingual Education from the Universidad San Simón, Cochabamba-Bolivia. Subsequently, she took the position of Director of the Mapuche Museum of Cañete – DIBAM –, where she has been able to provide support for and work alongside museum studies specialists on the Mapuche subject, achieving a reinterpretation of the history of the territory defined by modernization and decolonization of the MMC.

Pablo Lafuente



In 2014, Lafuente joined the team of curators of the 31st São Paulo Art Biennial. Prior to that he was editor of the journal Afterall and of the collection of Afterall’s histories of exhibitions. Currently, he resides in São Paulo and Porto Seguro, Brazil, where he is Visiting Professor at the Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia. From 2008 to 2013 he co-curated the Contemporary Art Workshop of Oslo, Norway. Lafuente is one of the participants in the Museal Episode, which is part of the Episodes of the South project.

Susana Torres

Curator and art historian


Teaches Art Direction at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC). Studied Art History at the National University of San Marcos, Esthetics and Cosmetology in Toulouse, France, and Fashion Design in Lima. She specialized in Installations and Art Curatorship while working on Micromuseum, an alternative museum project she is part of. From her work, her Neo Inka Museum stands out for being an alternative collection of everyday consumer objects, that brings the concept of the Inca to contemporary times.

Patricia Von Buchwald Hanze​


Studied Plastic Arts at the Escuela de Bellas Artes Juan José Plaza, in Guayaquil. Served as Director of museums and cultural centers in the Municipality of Quito’s Metropolitan District, taught on the faculty of Museum Studies at the Universidad Tecnológica Equinoccial, and Art History at the Universidad de las Américas. Subsequently, she studied ancestral sciences, humanistic psychology and a reconciliation experience with the people originally from America.

Conceived by Claudia Mattos Avolese
Organized by Goethe-Institut São Paulo
Partner: Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)