This exhibition pays tribute to Ivens Machado, a recently deceased artist whose contribution to the history of art in Brazil in the last five decades has yet to be appraised in detail. Most of the works exhibited here belong to MAM (the Gilberto Chateaubriand and MAM collections), which are supplemented by works from the Ivens Machado Archive, the project responsible for managing the artist’s private collection.
A pioneer in video art in Brazil (his first experimentation with this electronic medium came in 1974, coinciding with those of other artists, like Anna Bella Geiger andSônia Andrade), his output in this format is marked by the creation of situations in which power and its tense exercise are embodied by actors who may or may not interact withthe artist. Machado is arguably the most important artist of his generation to hail from the south of the country, even if his career only really blossomed in Rio de Janeiro, where he settled in 1964. Even so, there are a few questions (or poetic themes) that permeate his whole body of work from when it burgeonedin the early 1970s to his late work in the last two years.
These poetic themesare the result of ongoing practices of construction/reversion that Machado employed to produce sculptures that drew on the methods and practices of low-cost/community civil construction, both in regard to the materials they are made of – cement, rods, sand, tiles, stones, etc. – and for their unpolished look.
Another consideration worth making is the symbolic reversion of these methods and practices, represented by the anti-Cartesian precariousness of the specific results of these works, which do not even meet the functional requirements of low-cost housing, giving them a counter-discursiveundertone.
In the hand drawings on ruled notebooks,in which Machado intervenes directly in the operation of industrial machines that print the lines on the pages of notebooks or covers up lines using correction fluid for mimeographs ─ the first expression of his incipient poetic language ─, the same question is manifested differently, but with the same counter-discursive meaning and intent. Here, the normative spatial nature of thelines in the notebooks is deconstructed graphically when the lines are interrupted or the uniformity of the original page is broken by diverting or bending them or “fixing” them usingcorrection fluid.