As is often the case, the title of Cildo Meireles’ most recent work - Pertubarão! - is based on a wordplay that merges the Portuguese nouns ‘perturbação’ [disturbance] and ‘tubarão’ [shark]. The work is composed of three elements in the shape of fins that represent a family of sharks installed on a lawn, which in this case substitutes the sea. Viewers, who are always a crucial meaning-producing factor in Meireles’ works, are confronted with a surreal situation created by the simple gesture of placing visual elements associated to a wild, dangerous animal in a landscape environment designed for human recreation and comfort.
Founded on premises of political and social criticism, Cildo Meireles’ work developed during the period of the Brazilian military dictatorship, within an atmosphere of censorship and fear that characterized society from the mid-1960s onwards. Marked by a strong conceptual tendency, rooted in Brazilian neo-concretism of the late 1950s, as well as in the work of Marcel Duchamp and Piero Manzoni, Meireles’ oeuvre crosses interventions in the landscape and public space with drawing, sculpture and installation. His works frequently begin with the appropriation of objects drawn from everyday life, which are transformed to gain new meanings and propose a spatial involvement that offers viewers an expanded sensorial experience.

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