Barrio, Artur (1945)
Portugal
works and lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Artur Barrio, born in Portugal in 1945 but living in Brazil, creates ‘situations’ in situ. The creation process in such an ephemeral installation is much more important than the final result. His aversion towards the institute of the museum resulted to expositions in the public space: streets, gutters, rubbish dump, ... When he does expose in museums later on, it is rather to attack the institute, in some cases even by chopping literally holes in its walls.

Not only the installation itself is temporary, so also the materials Barrio chooses are granted only a short life. Coffee grit, bread, wine, urine, blood, ... are not only chosen for the sake of transitoriness but also because they are cheap, ‘Brazilian’ or Third World materials. More expensive materials belong to the rich elite to who Barrio resists. It’s in no way his meaning to aesthetisise the ‘objeto pobre’. Barrio is against art as an aesthetic or contemplative experience.

A walk through a ‘situation’ is a sensory experience: our eyes need to get used to the weak light, we smell and feel the coffee, … This kind of installations has almost a psychological effect on the spectator. Barrio calls this formless work and calls himself a anti-formalist and anti-modernist. His installations are by the way not ‘works of art’ but ‘works’ and he is not an ‘artist’ but an ‘author’. Categories, styles, criteria , programs and models are not his concern, nor are museums , galleries, salons and Biennales, prize distribution and juries , art critics and curators. In spite of the fact that Barrio writes and talks a lot about his work, he denies any form of extern discourse or interpretation.