I created Footnote for Affective Affinities, the 33a São Paulo Biennial in 2018.  Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro -the 2018 biennial’s curator- invited me to show my work in the double role of artist-curator; that is, to curate a group show while including my own work in the exhibition. Footnote fulfilled, therefore, the double function of artwork and curatorial text for The Slow Bird, the group show I curated for the biennial.

I placed porcelain ornaments depicting animals on the roof of my house. These were dropped and smashed after being attacked by the seagulls who nest on the roof. Then I collected the fragments created from the breakage and covered them in cotton muslin with the help of a team of forty women. Their brief was to conceal the shape while describing it by sewing around it.

Each fragment was then associated and labelled with a word from The Locked-Room Mystery,  the detective story I commissioned from writer/translator Pablo Martín Ruiz, a ‘curatorial fiction’ which contains clues of the curatorial thinking behind the exhibition. Footnote can be read therefore as the poetical translation of a fictional story. 

In Footnote the sequence of words in the story was abandoned and fragments are grouped on a big table following formal and narrative affinities amongst shapes. These affinities dictate the grammar and semantics of the reading action performed by the spectators as they walk around it.

Both the detective story and Footnote can be seen as two sides of a coin, in which analytical thinking meets poetry.


Footnote, 2018

Detective story and porcelain ornaments broken by eight birds into 5500 fragments, covered in cotton fabric sewn by hand by 40 women, labelled and placed on a table.

750 x 120 cm

Contemporary art collection at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem





The Slow Bird, curatorial fiction book (PDF)

PDF version of the book published on the occasion of The Slow Bird show. It contains The Locked-Room Mystery, detective story commissioned from writer and translator Pablo Martín Ruiz. The briefing was to create a detective story that would work transversally in relation to all other artworks in The Slow Bird. This fictional narrative taps into key concepts of the curatorial strategy while connecting poetical and ludic fragments of texts inspired in the artworks exhibited in The Slow Bird.


Motley Crew (PDF)

Claudia Fontes’s story read in the 33rd Sao Paulo Biennial audioguide for Footnote


El lento vértigo de la materia. Por una estética materialista post-antrópica (PDF)

A post-human analysis of The Slow Bird by philosopher Paula Fleisner.


Claudia Fontes on Footnote (VIDEO)


33rd Bienal de São Paulo: Affective Affinities
By Camila Bechelany for Ocula, 14 Sept 2018

33rd São Paulo Biennial Pays Attention to Art
By Cathy Bird for Fresh Art International, 12 Nov 2018
(Podcast in English)

De pájaros y semillas
By Kekena Corvalán for ARDO, Revista de Arte # 12, 22 Oct 2018

Video Interview on Footnote
By Kekena Corvalán for Leedor

El vuelo lento y poético de Claudia Fontes en la Bienal de San Pablo
By Ana María Battistozzi for Revista Ñ, Clarín, 14 Sept 2018

The Politics of Preference
By Jayne Wilkinson for Canadian Art, Sept 2018

De la resistencia como una de las Bellas Artes
By Estrella de Diego for El País, 13 Sept 2018

El vuelo lento y poético de Claudia Fontes en la Bienal de San Pablo
By Ana María Battistozzi for Revista Ñ, Clarín, 14 Sept 2018