Saturday, August 15, 2015

Developing an Individual’s Concept

“Something you cannot see,
something you cannot touch,
something is missing and
[it’s] something you never had.”
Antonio Dias

For the pop art inspired conceptual Brazilian artist Antonio Dias financial and critical success came early with his second one man show being transferred from Brazil to Paris in 1965.

As he told the Museum of Modern Art curator Lilian Tone “The same show as we did he [the gallerist] brought to Paris, he opened it [on] the day I was having [my 21st birthday] in Feburary in ’65 and in three days he sold everything… Following that I had this Paris Biennale prize [for] panting. This would help me stay six months in Paris with some money.”

Three years later the French government refused to renew his visa for his participation in rallies against the Brazilian Military dictatorship's take-over of his homeland. As he recalled “then in summer of ’68 I had to renew my papers, my French papers, they didn’t renew it because they had photographs of me at the ’68 events.”

Unable to return home Dias eventually settled in Milan and his work became experimental, radical and conceptual. As he has said “I started with the idea that every work had to make a difference.”
And his earlier success evaporated “I was always working in other things to live, like illustrations, graphics or, you know, book covers, record covers, even painting walls,” he recalled.

During the early 1970s Dias returned to Brazil where he employed visual puns and coded language to critique the violence and the political oppression he encountered there. In 1976 he returned to Milan and then Nepal where he created his seminal installation Invented Country based on a concept that would inform his work for many years.

In the 1980’s Dias re-invigorated his interest in painting and he now divides his time between Rio de Janeiro and Milan.

As the 2009 book about his work Anywhere Is My Land’s publicity states “he developed an oeuvre of conceptual painting, full of formal elegance, in which he wove together political themes, ideas about the nature of art, and personal impressions. Antonio Dias never makes one-dimensional artistic statements, opting instead to allow his works to remain in a state of enigmatic ambiguity.

Dias current exhibition Papéis do Nepal 1977-1986 is currently on show at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeria Nara Roesler until the 26th of September.

No comments: