Cildo Meireles, Red Shift I: Impregnation (detail) 1967-1984
Collection Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporanea,
Minas Gerais, Brazil
July 4, 2009 – January 10, 2010
The Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MuAC) is pleased to announce the opening of Cildo Meireles, the first extensive presentation of the artist’s work, both in Europe and America.
The MuAC, which is located within the Cultural Center of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, will be the only venue in America to host this major survey of Cildo Meireles’ work, a unique event that should place Mexico as a major destination for the contemporary art scene during the next few months.
The Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles (b. 1948) is widely recognized as one of the leaders in the international development of conceptual art. Revealing how he is particularly fascinated by scale, the works range from an object in the form of a small ring to an installation covering 225 square meters, while also bringing together several of Meireles’ iconic, immersive installations.
Meireles has made some of the most philosophically brilliant, politically telling and aesthetically seductive works in recent art. Since the late 1960s he has created sculptures and installations, which involve an element of participation. His deep interest in the relationship between the sensorial and the cerebral, the body and the mind, is now seen as one of the defining characteristics of the post-war Brazilian avant-garde, out of which Meireles emerged with his early works at the end of the 1960s. He has remained loyal to these origins, and to a political and ethical viewpoint formed outside the so-called cultures of plenty.
Early work in the exhibition includes Meireles’ Arte física from 1969, reflections about distance and borders in relation to the vast land of Brazil. His Condensado series features small works that demonstrate that the potency of an artwork is not restricted to its size. The artist further explores space and scale in his drawing series, Espaços Virtuais: Cantos 1967-8. Meireles’ celebrated Insertions into Ideological Circuits 1970, by which he devised a method to disseminate messages of protest under the military dictatorship in Brazil, and his Zero Dollar/Zero Cruzeiro project 1978-84 and 1974-78, are also exhibited together with smaller-scale philosophical objects dealing with questions of perception such as Oscura luz 1982.
Among the highlights are several large-scale installations. These include Através 1983-9, a labyrinth of barriers that the viewer is invited to navigate, and at the heart of which shines a vast ball of crumpled cellophane. Another is Desvio para o Vermelho 1967-84, an all-red apartment filled entirely with red objects leading through a darkened corridor to a room with a pool of red liquid on the floor and a sink running with red water, loaned from Collection Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea in Brazil. Babel 2001, a gigantic tower of more than 800 radios, all tuned at low volume, forms a startling yet complex contemporary take on the mythical tower of the world’s languages. The exhibition ends with Volatile 1980-94/2008, a multi-sensory environment through which visitors are invited to walk, playing with our response to danger, real or imagined.
The exhibition is curated by writer and curator, Guy Brett and Vicente Todolí, Director Tate Modern, with Amy Dickson, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern, and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
Throughout the duration, the MuAC will organize a series of parallel activities, ranging from a full program of lectures, to a film cycle devoted to the Brazilian avant-garde of the sixties and seventies.