While there’s plenty to be said about the experience of studying art first-hand in a museum or gallery, there’s an intimacy in having printed works you can take home, continually revisit and study at length.
With this idea in mind, the fifth edition of the Feira de Arte Impressa do Tijuana – The Tijuana Fair of Printed Art – brings together forty different publishers offering treasures ranging from conceptual graphic micro-zines to weighty and sumptuously produced art books and posters.
This year’s fair marks the first time since its inception in 2009 that it will take place outside its namesake space within Galeria Vermelho, relocating instead to the neighbourhood of Bom Retiro, where it will occupy a section of the immense Casa do Povo cultural centre as well as the nearby Oficina Oswald de Andrade. There, the event will incorporate workshops on book binding, screen printing and the creation of a huge ‘collective book’ of calligraphy by a team of artists in the building’s reading room.
The main draw of the fair is the incredible variety of art available for sale, from publishers ranging from São Paulo-based bigwig Cosac Naify, the highly creative, inventive art books by the indie publishers A Bolha from Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires contemporary art museum La Eñe.
But the event also aims to reflect on the importance (or lack thereof) of the printed visual arts: debates led by Capacete Entretenimentos’ educational group Máquina de Escrever (‘typewriter’), the online magazine Maré and nationally-minded Turnê Literária, will focus on critical writing’s place in the visual arts, and the potential of virtual platforms versus expression in traditional print media.
| Inside Casa do Povo
Visitors to Tijuana will likely be impressed by both the assortment of publications and by the stunning location of the fair – the Casa do Povo is a renovated work in progress, with historic significance and lofty goals for the future.
Built in 1953 by Bom Retiro’s immigrant Eastern European Jewish community as a living monument to victims of the Holocaust, the building functioned as a social and cultural hub, hosting innovative dance, political theatre and the offices of a newspaper, Nossa Voz. During Brazil’s military dictatorship, the Casa do Povo came under scrutiny when it regularly held debates, invited voices of dissent and sheltered those suffering political persecution.
The centre’s founding organisation, the Instituto Cultural Israelita Brasileiro, has made sure that the Casa do Povo never closed its doors – it has been continually functioning since its founding, although in various stages of disrepair – but a new interest in paying homage to the founders’ ideals of critical thinking and progressive expression have helped bring the fair to its main space, adding extra energy and arty spirit to the cultural revitalisation of both the building and Bom Retiro.
The 5th Feira de Arte Impressa do Tijuana is at at Casa do Povo (see listings below/ facebook.com/casadopovoxxi) and Oficina Oswald de Andrade, Rua Três Rios 363, Bom Retiro (3361 4976/ oficinasculturais.org.br).