For his first solo exhibition at Múrias Centeno, Lisboa, Marcelo Cidade exhibits a set of recent works where key characteristics of the artist production as appropriation of materials and symbolic displacement can be seen. In “Quando acidentes se tornam formas.” / When accidents become shapes.”, Marcelo Cidade works with behaviours and gestures to articulate his vision of societies shaped by utopian promises linked to progressive wills and their subsequent failure to deliver the promised ideal. Strongly influenced by his life in the city of São Paulo, where the ideals of the 20th century vanguard coexist with the conflictual reality of the post-utopian present, Cidade also works on several similar models (often simultaneously) of developmental vows of failures.
In (un)monuments for V. Tatlin, for instance, Cidade recreates the famous sculptures of fluorescent lamps created by Dan Flavin between 1964 and 1990 as an homage to “Monument to the Third International”, planned by the Russian constructivist Vladimir Tatlin after the 1917 Revolution. While Flavin used the lamps in order to argue the impermanence of the material, the systems (the american aesthetics of minimalism is structured as a confirmation of the Fordist industrial degradation, emphasising the appropriation of elements in disuse and a new critical functionality), Cidade works around the ruin, using only the old metal structures that support fluorescent lamps in abandoned buildings in the city. In the recreations of Marcelo Cidade, there is no longer room for impermanence, there is only the useless waste of an utopian plan.
For the serie Geometria do Colapso / Geometry of Collapse, Marcelo Cidade elaborate geometric structures from wool clusters, popularly known in the city of São Paulo as homeless blankets. The compositions refer to the Brazilian constructivism, specially in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, with the groups Frente (1953) and Ruptura (1952) respectively.
In Debito Automatico / Direct Debit, 2014, using the procedure to remove the mold paintings trays used in his studio, with cement, giving form, and removing the character to the very primary function of the object while formalizing the dysfunction of the same, creating a pictorial relation with the accumulated material.
In Confortável Conformism / Comfortable Conformity, 2015, Cidade works with instructions that must be followed by the organizer, the curator, the producer, or any other person related to the exhibition which the work will be part of. In seven steps, the artist describes how a spring mattress can be found abandoned in the city streets in which the work is displayed. Thereafter, the mattress should be burned and relocated to the exhibition space at a 45 degree angle with the wall, in an allusion the the work Untitled (Double Amber Bed), 1991, by Rachel Whiteread, where the artist intended to comment on the life of London’s homeless in the 90`s. By dissociating from all the work processes of production (beyond the conception), Cidade makes room for chance to prevail, removing the need for “artistic seal” for the work to take form.
Finally in EUR, 2016, a liter of gasoline is transformed into heater, as commonly used by homeless people in big cities, to be filled with hot-fire. When moving this improvised and marginalized piece to the white cube, adapting the coal with an electric heater mechanism, the artist refers to a domestication of this symbol of social survival.
Inversion of a situation found in an urban solution to the protected space of the white cube.
Marcelo Cidade - Quando acidentes se tornam formas
Múrias Centeno, January 20 - February 27