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Cinthia Marcelle’s “Chão de caça” Pavilion of Brazil at the 57th International Art Exhibition

Cinthia Marcelle

The Fundaçao Bienal de São Paulo announces that Brazil’s contribution to the 57th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia in 2017, consists on the installation “Chão de caça” [Hunting Ground] developed by the artist Cinthia Marcelle (Belo Horizonte, 1974), a new and site-specific commission curated by Jochen Volz for the Brazilian Pavilion.

On Marcelle’s installation, an inclining floor made of welded grating occupies the interior of the two connected galleries of the Brazilian Pavilion. Ordinary pebbles, like those found in the surrounding Giardini, are squeezed into the grid. One immediately recognizes this kind of flooring, normally used in an industrial context or within public space, for example between railroad tracks or for coverage of subway venting shafts or sewerage systems. Interlaced with the grating and the pebbles, there are additional sculptural elements, a series of paintings and a video.

A number of wooden sticks are fixed into the floor structure, each balancing a painting on cloth draped over the upper tip, like a group of ghosts or a small forest of signs, torches or totems. The support of the paintings is a black-and-white striped cotton fabric, ordinary bed sheets, but each of the black stripes has been carefully erased with white paint. Stones in various sizes are wrapped with the lace and therewith become part of the larger overall structure, giving it a sculptural volume and weight.

There is also a video: a one angle shot onto a tiled roof, which is gradually being dismantled from the inside by men, creating an opening big enough for them to climb onto the roof and take off. In the piece, made together with filmmaker Tiago Mata Machado, the bright-coloured uniforms suggest that the men climbing the brick roof are prisoners, working on their escape or preparing for protest, remembering decades of prison uprisings all around the world, from Bangkok, Glasgow, Milan, Sri Lanka and Sydney, all the way to the horrific massacres in Brazilian penitentiaries in the past months. Of course, Marcelle’s and Machado’s film does not directly comment any of these events, much less does it illustrate actual conditions of imprisonment.

“Marcelle plays on ambiguity, she creates an enigmatic environment, directed by suspension, obsession and rebellion. The installation as a whole provokes a sensation of instability”, states Volz. “As much as we might be seduced to hold onto the image of the prison and the getaway or riot, indicated by the video projection and resonating with the roughness of the steel grating, one could also imagine to be in a peculiar laboratory or an unhinged artist studio, in a techno forest or a big wild city”.

About Cinthia Marcelle
Since the early 2000s, Cinthia Marcelle has been constructing her oeuvre with the use of a wide variety of media, ranging from installation to sculpture, from photography and video to performance. The artist works with the invention of images and manages to draw powerfully poetic scenes with the elements she depicts and the materials she uses. Time and again, the artist explicitly seems to create circumstances or model-like configurations in order to verify things.

Always beginning with curiosity, with an idea or a thought transformed into an experiment; an experiment that ultimately translates back into an image, Marcelle’s oeuvre is a clear statement that art is all about the act of setting out to question things. Answers are given only insofar as they are necessary to stimulate further questions. Often marked by a degree of absurdity, Marcelle’s works seem to draw their power from the fact that they reflect the artist’s journey through life, and the desire to understand and experiment with the relationship between the self and the world.

Cinthia Marcelle has had solo exhibitions in South America and Europe, and recently been commissioned as Projects 105 to presents Education by Stone (2016), a new site-specific installation in MoMA PS1’s Duplex Gallery. She participated with At the Risk of the Real in the 11th Sharjah Biennial (2015) and showed her installation Dust Never Sleeps in the Sezession, Vienna (2014). In 2006, she was the recipient of the International Prize for Performance for her work Gray Demonstration (2006). In 2010, she was awarded the Future Generation Prize.

On Brazil’s participation at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia
The Brazil pavilion, built in 1964, is an artistic embassy at which the country can exhibit the artists chosen to represent it at each edition of the event. Since 1995, the Brazilian government has entrusted this choice to the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, the second longest-standing foundation of its kind in the world. Brazilian delegations are organised jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – which maintains the pavilion –, the Ministry of Culture – through the National Arts Foundation (Funarte) – and the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo – which chooses the curator and produces the exhibition.

Brazil’s participation at Biennale Arte 2017
from May 13 to November 26, 2017
Opening : May 11, from 12:30 to 1:30 pm.
Commissioner: João Carlos de Figueiredo Ferraz, chairman of the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo
Curator: Jochen Volz
Locale: Brazil Pavilion. Address: Giardini Castello, Padiglione Brasile, 30122
Catalogue: On the occasion of the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the Fundação Bienal de São Paulo publishes the first monographic catalogue on the work of Cinthia Marcelle, with essays by Gabi Ngcobo, Júlia Rebouças and Jochen Volz. (88 pages, 60 colour illustrations)