First Solo exhibition in the USA of Artur Barrio at TRANS> area 

Artur Barrio

Action in the streets of Chelsea, May 11, 5 - 7 pm


Reception: Saturday, May 11, 7 - 8:30 pm

May 11 – June 15, 2002


TRANS> area

511 West 25th Street, No. 502

New York, New York, 10001

T. 646.486.0252 F.646.486.0241


Artur Barrio, Situacao P......H............. , 1969/1970

TRANS> area is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in the United States of work by Artur Barrio, one of the seminal, influential artists of the late sixties living in Rio de Janeiro. This exhibition will open with action (“situations”) in the streets of Chelsea on Saturday May 11 from 5-7 pm. Opening reception for the artist will be on Saturday, May 11 from 7- 8:30 pm.


In its radical singularity, the work of Artur Barrio constitutes a very particular example of the way in which art can renounce its objectuality. “I make use of precarious materials (including perishable situations), according to my awareness as an individual and at the same time as the result of a collective, socio-economic view of reality.” Responding to his ‘Third World' strata, materials comprise of the accessible and the affordable: toilet paper, meat, urine, cloth, bits of nails, fish, etc. Barrio's work becomes ephemeral and non-institutional and its documentation of the actions (performances) is through videos, slide projections, photography—its ‘phantom double'.


At TRANS>area Barrio will do a new installation as well as a selection of pieces from the seventies including “Situation……CITY…Y…..COUNTRY…….(1970).…..” in which he distributes bundles of baguettes, or as he calls them CONDENSED ENERGY, during a heated military regime in the streets of Rio de Janeiro. In the museum he piles them in a corner for people to take.


Barrio's work has appeared in group shows including Information, New York MoMA, 1970; Re-aligning Vision—Alternate Currents in South American Drawing, itinerant: Museo del Barrio, New York, 1996; Arches M. Huntington Art Gallery, Austin; XXIII São Paulo Bienal and Kwangju Bienal, South Korea, 2000. In 2000 the Museum of Contemporary Art, Serralves, Oporto, Portugal organized a retrospective of his work. Barrio will participate in the upcoming Documenta XI, 2002.


“The plaza and the street will come to occupy a preponderant place in Barrio's work, converted to theatrical stages as protagonists in the development of his work which will come to be systematically called ‘situations' with an emphasis on the instant in which it occurs and its fragile presence. …These places mark and sum up the ambiguously monumental character of Barrio's work. Because these spaces are simply mute remainders, a part of daily experience which the instruments of capital cannot entirely obliterate, their singularity is not perceived as such. Barrio's work constitutes, in total, the most faithful contemporary monument to those naked and empty forms of subjectivity, not completely silent but far from any eloquence, that stoically support the doubtful gift of their own fragility” —Carlos Basualdo


“…[Barrio] constitutes a particular inflection of [the experimentalist frame of mind of the sixties]”—Ricardo Basbaum


“Barrio deconstruye la noción de ‘objeto' para sustituirlo por ‘abyecto', en oposición al neoconcretismo. Como destaca Gullar, el ‘no-objeto especial en el que se pretende realizar la sítesis de las experiencias sensoriales y mentales: un cuerpo transparente al conocimiento fenomenológico, completamente perceptible, que se expone a la percepción sin dejar un resto'. La producción de Barrio, constituida por vestigios de materiales sórdidos, se verá dirigida escatológicamente hacia la esfera social. Son objectos turbios; parecen confundir en lugar de aclarar, como los Fardos, tomados como cuerpos descuartizados por el terrerismo de Estado.” —Paulo Herkenhoff


This exhibition is made possible through generous donations of Rosa & Carlos de la Cruz. Special thanks to Fernanda Arruda, Anton Vidokle, Sarah Cox, Alfredo Cervantes and Luisa Strina.


For further information please contact Sandra Antelo-Suarez, Editorial Director & Chief Curator. (Tel) 646.486.0252 or, e-mail:


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