A naval chain wraps around the trees and, pulled by two tractors, knocks down everything in its path. This is one more of the scenes of deforestation common to Brazil in legal and illegal deforestation. The “deforestation chain”, as it became popularly known, is the basis for the design of the new temporary work in the Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo: big snake, by Frederick Filippi.

Visitors to the Ibirapuera Park will see a life-size chain in front of the MAM, about 40 meters long, surrounding the trees. However, as he approaches, he notices that the instrument of destruction, in this case, is made of clay, sand and straw. “I had this idea of ​​putting in opposition the symbolic shape of the chain, which is a super aggressive material, cast iron, something that is representative of the industrial universe. When you look, you notice the link being made of earth”. 

The work follows on from Filippi's research on South America and deforestation.  “I started researching the history of the invasion and the invention of this idea of ​​'America', what images emerged from this friction between those who arrived and those who were already there, what kind of peristaltic movements are this 'digestion' of the world, that reduces another world and who is inside that friction zone?”

This idea of ​​digestion gives the work its name. big snake takes up the figure common to several cosmogonies, as a creator of worlds. 🇧🇷The shape that the chain acquires as it travels across the map is a slender shape. She snakes too. So what was on my mind a lot? This image is a kind of a second snake, another snake in dialogue with the entity. It is also a big snake, because it also has this eschatology inside it, it is the end of that world, in that place”, explains the artist. Thus, he seeks to explain this reflection on the border between the forest and industry: “This friction between two entities, each representing one side of the border.”

Due to its composition, the work assumes an ephemeral character. With the rains and bad weather, the work will break down and be absorbed by the soil in the garden.

A arte!brasileiros accompanied the assembly of the work and talked with the artist. Check out:

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