Dias occupies a central place in Brazilian art of the 1960s and 1970s. He left Brazil in 1966 and arrived in Paris in time to participate in the May 1968 protests. Because of his political involvement he was forced to move again; he settled in Milan, where he became the only Latin American member of the Arte Povera movement, whose adherents deployed common materials to counter art's increasing commodification. The Invented Country speaks to Dias's personal situation as well as to the political conditions of the moment. Produced while he was traveling in Nepal, the work was originally shown in an abandoned building in Milan that had been taken over by a commune of squatters. It suggests that, in the words of the artist, "ideology had gone fishing." Dias has presented the work as an emblem of failed state-sponsored revolutions and of the smaller utopian experiments that replaced them.
Gallery label from Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980, September 5, 2015–January 3, 2016.