Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles

This video is called TateShots: Cildo Meireles.

From British daily The Morning Star:

The art of experience

(Tuesday 30 December 2008)

EXHIBITION: Cildo Meireles
Tate Modern, London SE1

CHRISTINE LINDEY finds out how thought-provoking artist Cildo Meireles mixes fun, fear and meaning.

As crowds mass into Tate Modern’s Rothko exhibition, a smattering of people are being delighted by Cildo Meireles’s work across the hall.

He is less well known in part because he is Brazilian. Aware of US cultural hegemony, he points out that his political and ethical outlooks were formed outside the “cultures of plenty.”

Meireles was one of the pioneers of conceptual art in the late 1960s. Realising that the mass media so saturated our senses that we were learning to shut out rather seek out descriptive images, the artists challenged the limitations of art’s traditional paint and clay.

Inspired by the Dadaists, Surrealists and the loner Marcel Duchamp, conceptual artists claimed the freedom to use any material, object or process as a means of conveying meaning.

Their works would appeal to the mind as much as to the senses. Rather than depicting their experience, they would provide us with experiences. For some like Meireles, environments, multiples and actions were also a means of defying the capitalist art market.

Meireles was 16 years old when the military dictatorship seized power. “Political and social events steamrolled us,” he says.

In a country where people disappeared and feared to openly express dissent, he acted as a guerilla artist. Covertly opposing the regime, he made his Insertions Into Ideological Circuits 1970-1976, which defied censorship yet managed to reach a wide, undifferentiated public.

On bank notes, he printed messages such as “who killed Herzog?” – a journalist who had been tortured to death by the regime – and reinserted them into public circulation. To destroy them would be to destroy their monetary value.

Similarly, he printed political messages onto Coca-Cola bottles which were sold on a deposit system so that these too were subversively returned to circulation.

In Zero Cent (1978-84), a coin mimics a US dollar, but its numerical value is reduced to zero, while a Coca-Cola bottle replaces the image of Abraham Lincoln beneath the slogan “Liberty.” Tiny poetic objects that sum up the links between political and economic power. …

Conceptual art has been given a bad name by dry overintellectualising or by the derivative inanities of much Brit Art of the 1990s. If it intrigues but baffles you, Meireles may well dispel your reservations. He offers a rare blend of acute political engagement, aesthetic pleasure, imagination and wit. His poetic mind games allude to multilayered meanings without being unfathomable. Curated with intelligence and empathy, this comprehensive exhibition provokes thought while providing fun and joy.

Exhibition runs until January 11 and costs £7.80/£6.90 senior citizens/£5.90 concessions.

1 thought on “Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles

  1. Pingback: Swedish nazis attack ‘degenerate art’ | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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