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*By Tiago Mesquita

The book Cildo – studies, spaces, time, released by Ubu Editora, portrays the trajectory of Cildo Meireles based on his procedures. Organizers Diego Matos and Guilherme Wisnik gathered around forty works, carried out over fifty years of career. The works are presented through exhibition photographs, artist's notes, drawings and projects. We know how the works were made public, but also the steps of Cildo Meireles' elaboration and part of his critical repercussion.

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The traces help us to reconstruct the steps of the work. We follow the metamorphoses of some important works over time and understand the form they take at different stages: idealization, design, implementation and use. The documentation came from the artist's own archive and is arranged in chronological order.

The relationship between the works in the book makes us think of a relationship between the ideas of what came before and what came after. The book is completed by an excellent critical fortune that explores the work's dialogue with the history of Brazilian and foreign art, the relationship with different theoretical forms and the meanings that the work gained when it escaped from its author's hand.

The book studies the variations of some ideas and the meaning they gain in different forms of implementation. For this reason, the works shown do not have a defined technique, nor do they require a conventional form of attention from the viewer. Perhaps this is why more objective works, such as gold and clubs, geometry cases, Money Tree, which call for a more traditional form of contemplation, have been left out of the book's narrative.

The notion of study organizes the work. The study would be a refinement of the puzzles that put ideological convictions in check. It would be a test of those perceptions. Thus, it is reminiscent of the scientific experiment, the test of hypotheses.

Guy Brett, in a text from 2005, republished in the book, states that the Brazilian production of the generation immediately before Cildo Meireles relied on the senses. This investigation of perception was a way of facing the limits of a bureaucratic rationality. Art had to deal with these limits and seek a new relationship with life.

Artists such as Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica distance themselves from traditional rationalist contemplation to create relationships between meanings that were apparently disconnected. Thus, they created situations or environments, in which these sensual ways of perceiving work at high voltage. Body and mind, reason and sensibility, even the forms of conviviality would be remade by these more direct and community relationships. This escapist, romantic and sensorial promise does not seem to be in front of Cildo when he begins his first works.

The artist comes from the generation baptized by Frederico Morais as the “AI-5 generation”. The promises of modernization and the construction of a utopian perception were not on the horizon. His sensations at work, from then on, become room for doubt. As we learn from Frederico's text, sensory experience is called into question. Thus, the appearance of the spheres in the installation of Eureka/Blindhotland (1970-1975) is contradicted by its weight and the sounds amplify what Sônia Salzstein names as confusion of the senses.

Therefore, the space of Cildo's first works, the Virtual Spaces: Corners (1967-8), is not expansive. It looks like a dead end. the color of red shift (1967 – 84) does not enhance perception beyond the limits of rationality: red makes objects homogeneous. The experiences are negative, of looking for something through sensations, through the instruments of reason and not finding it. The study seems to exhaust this knowledge, in a permanent skeptical exercise of doubt.

Cildo Meireles is probably one of the contemporary artists who most influenced engaged contemporary art, despite himself. Unlike many who use art as a vehicle for convictions, but it is ideological criticism, criticism of the way we think when we believe we don't think. His political strength is the radicalization of uncertainty and indefiniteness. This book brings us the power of radical doubt.

*Tiago Mesquita He holds a degree in Social Sciences and a Master's in Philosophy from the University of São Paulo. He works as a professor of Art History at FIAM-FAAM and writes reviews for various media outlets. His work has an emphasis on contemporary art, Brazilian art, modern art, art criticism and painting.


The metamorphoses of the artist's work

The theme that comes out of the work made by Cildo Meireles reveals a good key of his history

By Tiago Mesquita

 

the book Cildo – studies, spaces, time (Cildo – studies, spaces, team), released by Ubu Editora, portrays the trajectory of Cildo Meireles based on his procedures. The organizers Diego Matos and Guilherme Wisnik gathered about forty works, made over fifty years of his career. The works are shown through exhibition photographs, artist's notes, drawings and projects. We are presented to how the works came to the public, but also to the steps of Cildo Meireles' elaboration and part of his critical repercussion of him.

The traces help us rebuild the steps of his work. We follow the metamorphosis of some important pieces over time and understand the form they take in different phases: idealization, design, implementation and use. The documentation came from the artist's own file and it is arranged in chronological order.

The relation of the works in the book makes us think of a connection between the ideas of what came before and what came later. The book is finished by excellent critical essays that explore the interlocution of the artwork with the history of Brazilian and foreign art, the relationship with various theoretical forms and the meanings that the work gained when it escaped the hand of its author.

The book studies the variations of some ideas and the sense they gain in different forms of implementation. Therefore, the works shown do not have a definite technique, nor do they ask the spectator for a conventional form of attention. Perhaps that is why more objectual works, such as Diamond and Clubs (Gold and Wands), Geometry Cases (Geometry Kits), Money tree (Tree of the money), which call for a more traditional form of contemplation, has been left out of the narrative in the book.

The notion of study organizes the work. The study would be a refinement of the puzzles that question ideological convictions. It would be a test for these perceptions. Thus, it reminds one of the scientific experiment, the test of hypotheses.

Guy Brett, in a text written in 2005, republished in the book, states that the Brazilian production by the generation before Cildo Meireles relied on the senses. This investigation of perception was a way of looking at the limits of bureaucratic rationality. Art must take these limits and seek a new relationship with life.

Artists like Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica distance themselves from traditional rationalist contemplation to create relationships between senses that were apparently disconnected. Thus, they have created situations or environments in which these sensuous ways of perceiving the works in high voltage. Body and mind, reason and sensitivity, even the forms of conviviality would be remade by these more direct and communal relations. This escapist promise, romantic and sensory, does not seem to be before Cildo when he begins his first works by him.

The artist comes from the generation baptized by Frederico Morais as “AI-5 generation”. The promises of modernization and the construction of a utopian perception were not on the horizon. The sensations in his work of him, thereafter, become room for doubt. As we learn from the text of Frederico Morais, the sensory experience is called into question. Therefore, the appearance of the spheres in Eureka/Blindhotland installation (1970-1975) is denied by their weight and the sounds amplify what Sonia Salzstein names as confusion of the senses.

For this reason, the space of Cildo's early works, Virtual Spaces: Corners (1967-68), is not expansive. It looks like a dead end. The coloring of Deviance for Red (1967-84) does not enhance perception beyond the limits of rationality: red makes objects homogeneous. The experiences are negative, to look for something by sensations, by the instruments of reason and not find what is desired. The study seems to exhaust these knowledge, in a permanent skeptical exercise of doubt.

Cildo Meireles is probably one of the contemporary artists who most influenced the current art committed to a cause, behind his back. Unlike many others who use art as a vehicle for convictions, but it is an ideological criticism, the criticism on how we think when we believe we are not thinking. His political force dele is the radicalization of the uncertainty and the indetermination. This book brings us the force of the radical doubt.

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