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

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Private Collection

  • Literature

    Cildo Meireles: Algum Desenho (1963-2005), Rio de Janeiro: CCBB, 2005, p. 36

  • Catalogue Essay

    The work of Cildo Meireles might initially seem eclectic in scale and form, and yet it possesses an incredible conceptual rigor and contagious sensibility. Having emerged as an artist in the late 1960s, his work is often described as one of the key proponents of a politicised version of conceptualism. This, however, would be a somewhat restrictive description of his production. As the artist himself argued, ‘In some way you become political when you don’t have a chance to be poetic. I think human beings would much prefer to be poetic’.

    Today Meireles is an internationally recognised artist whose work relates more to universal human sensibility than to specific socio-cultural characteristics of his native Brazil. His work nevertheless arises from the articulation of deeply personal insights, often drawing on childhood memories, and from his insightful understanding of the significance of Marcel Duchamp. Such is the case of his early investigations into Euclidean geometry, which led to the production of the Virtual Spaces series in 1968. Recalling how the ‘corner’ came to be of interest for his work, Meireles recalled a childhood memory— a nightmare— in which a scary old woman emerged from a corner of his room, laughing and levitating until she hovered above him.

    The other recollection which, in combination with that older memory, became the stimulus for the work, is from 1967. Meireles was paying a visit to a urinal in the men’s room of a bar not far from his studio. The urinal, he remarked, was similar to Duchamp’s Fountain. As he stood in a corner of the bathroom, he noticed that his shadow was projected over the corner itself, creating an interesting shape. The conjunction of such disparate memories became associated within the work through a geometric form in space that provides two possible readings of a given perspective. Drawn on graph paper as preparatory projects for life-size models of corners, the desired illusion is not possible to convey in real space, yet the millimetered paper provides the possibility of annulling the illusion of perspective that the drawing attempts to represent. Of course, similar to the case with the corners set in real space, only one interpretation of the ambivalent perspective is possible at any given time.

  • 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.

    View More Works



Espaços Virtuais: Cantos (Virtual Spaces: Corners)

Gouache and China ink on paper.
14 3/8 x 20 1/8 in. (36.5 x 51 cm).
Signed on the reverse.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $158,500

Latin America

14 & 15 November 2011
New York