20.000 - 30.000
20 April 2022
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Gouache and ink on paper
Signed and dated 1967
(some alteration to the support with stains)
Modern and Contemporary Art
Cildo Meireles: A Relativisation of Knowledge of the World
Lot Essay by Angela Grando, PPGA/UFES and Juliana Almonfrey, UFES
We know that Meireles began his work with drawing, a practice that has been kept alive and has produced a diverse body of work that, over the years, has woven dialogues with his works in the three-dimensional and object fields. In many drawings we perceive traces, signs, indications of the genesis of ideas that are later explored in other researches of the artist. In this way, drawing in Cildo Meireles can also be seen as a kind of "informal laboratory" in which the artist projects questions that will be developed later. When asked about the meaning of drawing in his poetics, he replied:
Drawing perhaps has something to do with shadow, with the dark side of the drawer. It reveals, through the shadow, the light side of things. Or maybe it has something to do with the subject's inner life, with the deeper, more intimate meaning of things. 3
In a kind of what he calls "graphic intoxication" and "fruit of the pleasure of seeing one thing transforming itself indefinitely into another" 4, the artist exercises a kind of graphic turmoil in a sand creates his characters, which often appear undetermined by a quick and synthetic stroke. Among these "quasi-figures", often unnoticed, appears a character who is recurrent in many of his drawings. It is a figure with dark glasses, wearing a hat and a cape. The artist says that the presence of this character in his drawings begins in the period when he moved from Brasília to Rio de Janeiro in 1967 and can be related to a dream, which often repeated itself, in which a figure wearing dark glasses, a hat and a cape chased him 5. In these drawings, amid the confluence of the various motifs and figures there appear traces of architectural constructions in the form of walls or enclosures. These architectural elements function both as a demarcating area that contributes to a certain spatial organization in the confusion of the elements inscribed in the scene, and as an indication of the displacement of space: interior / exterior. Furthermore, this character in his work allows an allusion to the tense atmosphere of repression that invaded the daily life of the great Brazilian centers, generating feelings of fear and distrust of everything and everyone during the repressive regime of the military dictatorship.
However, in other drawings from the same period, the narrative aspect gives way to architectural elements that develop under the tonic of instability. Dealing with a constructive-imaginary of internal environments, the artist elaborates a surreal image, in which domestic objects and architectural elements merge and get confused in a kind of passage of planes, invasions, and deviations of chromatic masses that impregnate the scene. In contrast to earlier works of rapid execution and graphic exploration of line, the composition gives way to a calmer stroke that builds uncertain and disconcerting areas. In these drawings, the appearance of the informal stains contrasts with the straight line of the walls and ends up destabilizing, through a kind of clash between rigid and soft form, the organization of the internal space of the scene.
We can infer that by stripping architectural space of its conventional notion, operating spatial fusions and reversing its current logic through the imaginary, Meireles was already beginning to elaborate his ideas about the deconstruction of the Euclidean mode of space, seen in the series Virtual Spaces: corners. Developed especially during the period in which Meirelles went to live in the coastal city of Parati, in 1968, this series reflects a process of introspective immersion by the artist who, among other inquiries, expanded the space of his drawing practice.
Presented at the International Congress of the Association of Researchers in Genetic Criticism, X Edition, Porto Alegre, 2012
Full text available at: https://editora.pucrs.br/anais/apcg/edicao10/Angela.Grando.pdf
3 Interview Cildo Meireles - Frederico Morais. In: CILDO Meireles: Some Drawing (1963-2005). Rio de Janeiro: Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, 2005. Exhibition catalog. p. 56.
4 Text by Cildo Meireles. In: CILDO MEIRELES. Geography of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro: Artviva, 2001. Exhibition catalog. 2001, p. 21.
5 CILDO, 2005, p. 3