Galeria Vermelho created the VERBO performance art show in 2005, since the work of many its artists essentially involves the body.

That was the same year that Marina Abramovic organized Seven Easy Pieces, a show held at Guggenheim New York, at which the artist restaged works by Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Valie Export, Joseph Beuys and herself. Seven Easy Pieces opened the doors to restaging in the field of performance. The discussion brought Abramovic to MoMA, in 2010, with The Artist Is Present, garnering recognition far beyond the art circuit, which already held her in high esteem.

Not by chance, in that same period other events arose around the same thematics, such as Performa, a biennial show directed by the scholar of action art RoseLee Goldberg, first held in 2005, in New York. Every two years, Performa carries out a program of actions at various places in the city, throughout an entire month.

These are just two examples among many other festivals, courses and events linked to the body which arose at the beginning of the 21st century. They share the common aim of renovating the field of art, using the body as an effective tool toward this end.

When we created VERBO, we knew that a program linked to performance art within a commercial gallery must not only create tools for financing the research of artists linked to this language, but also raise awareness about these artworks and ensure their insertion in the current art scene.

With this in mind, VERBO became an annual event dedicated to performance art, being constituted as a field of experimentation for artists from Brazil and other countries whose work is linked with this language.

After ten editions, VERBO has already presented more than 300 actions by more than 500 artists, serving as an open space where the public has always attended free of charge. This has only been possible due to partnerships and collaborations with international agencies such as the French Consulate in São Paulo, Institut Français, the Embassy of Spain in Brazil, the Mondriaan Fund, the International Choreographic Centre of Amsterdam, the Culture Institute of Denmark, the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres Québec, the Québec Bureau São Paulo, Fundação Caloustre Gulbenkian, the Arts Promotion Centre Finland, the British Council, and Pro-Helvetia, as well as Brazilian public institutions such as CCSP (Centro Cultural São Paulo), FUNARTE, and private ones like STB (Student Travel Bureau).

Throughout these years, we have considered VERBO as a space of encounter for interchange and the exchange of ideas. Nevertheless, these dynamics are ruled not by the law of fusion, but by an understanding of diversity, where the heterogeneity of surfaces fosters new connections and encounters. It serves as a sort of network of contact, since we have persisted in a project wherein immutable but manageable differences lead to new configurations for carrying out the work.

Each new edition of VERBO has enlarged the possibility for experiences, seeking new combinations of artists or inviting new collaborators, even though the exercise of synthesis that guides the selection has forced us to leave aside many projects we would have otherwise liked to include.

This book presents an overview of the first 10 years of VERBO and features texts written by Brazilian and “foreign” authors such as Marta Bogéa, Liliana Coutinho, Teté Martinho, Fernando Oliva, Agnès Violeau, Carla Zaccagnini, and the Spanish artist duo LOS TORREZNOS.

Essentially, this book seeks to tell the story of a performance festival as a mosaic – just as the festival itself tends to be. The publication was only possible due to the generous support by Roberto Miranda and Camila Magnus, and by all the artists, collaborators and friends who have shared in the experience of VERBO.

Marcos Gallon
artistic director of VERBO