Cildo Meireles - Latin America New York Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection

  • Exhibited

    London, Tate Modern, Cildo Meireles, 2002. Traveling exhibition

  • Literature

    Cildo Meireles, London: Tate Modern, 2008, p. 167. Exhibition catalogue

  • Catalogue Essay

    Another work that emerges out of Meireles’ unique reading of Duchamp can be found in Fontes (1992-2008), an installation produced originally for the IX Documenta in Kassel. Here one finds a response to Duchamp’s work – in this case Three Standard Stoppages (1913-14) – which collides with the sensibility of the artist and his own life experience. Meireles described meeting the curator Jan Hoet armed with a kit “containing four fragments of each of the rulers […] and the clocks”. The rulers’ numeration was erratic and obeyed no recognisable standard of measurement. Similarly, the clocks, although maintaining the standard division of twelve hours, where equally erratic, displaying incorrect sequences of hours and missing some numbers altogether. The floor was to be covered by these missing numbers, as if they had fallen off the clocks. A spiral corridor formed by the hanging rulers would create a form of labyrinth. As one followed the path set by the rulers, their number increased until a point was reached where all sense of reference was lost. The visitor, engulfed by the sheer number of rulers, would become literally lost in the space, while simultaneously being completely aware of the presence of others in the close vicinity.

    One of the reasons why Meireles dedicated this work to his friend Alfredo Fontes – who had produced the first samples of the rulers included in that initial ‘kit’ – was because his friend died before the work had been finalised. The title is fitting, since Fontes in Portuguese possesses a double meaning: on the one hand it may be translated as “fountain”, while on the other is can be translated as “source”.

    Two versions of this work exist. The first, produced for Documenta IX, is in yellow and black. The version which comprises the present lot was produced for the Meireles retrospective at the Tate Modern in London 2008, and it is in black and white. A third version, still in the planning stages, will contain phosphorescent numbers and a blue background.

  • Artist Biography

    Cildo Meireles

    Brazilian • 1948

    At the core of Cildo Meireles' conceptual artistic practice is an interest in the functions of economic and political systems. Meireles forms part of the younger generation of Brazilian Neo-Concrete artists who were chiefly concerned with integrating spectator participation in the execution of their artworks, provoking the viewer's sensorial awareness.

    In his seminal series, Insertion In Ideological Circuits 2: Banknote Project (1970), Meireles printed politically subversive messages on American and Brazilian banknotes and sent them into circulation. This vandalism forced viewers to confront the reality of their political and economic systems and question their role and participation within said systems. This one series is emblematic of his larger body of work, which continues to intrigue and confound viewers today.

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Fontes (Bauhaus version)

Four carpenter's rulers.
Dimensions variable. Each ruler 78 3/4 x 0 5/8 in. (200 x 1.5 cm).
Initialed, titled and dated “FONTES, CM 92” lower end of rulers.

$120,000 - 180,000 

Latin America

14 & 15 November 2011
New York