Cildo Meireles Meshes of Freedom 1976/77

  • Not on view

Part of a generation of artists who expanded the principles of Brazilian Constructive art, Meireles often plays with geometry in his work. He structured this grid using a mathematical principle of growth known as “cascading bifurcations.” But his simple forms (here, and in the center of the room) suggest other, more local references. This “mesh” originated from the artist’s collaboration with fishermen who created nets from cotton thread. Made during Brazil’s military dictatorship, this work might be understood in terms of the tensions between freedom and imprisonment. The title evokes the openings or spaces of freedom that may remain available even within apparently unyielding structures.

Gallery label from Chosen Memories, April 30–September 9, 2023
Iron and glass
47 1/4 x 48 1/4 x 1 1/2" (120 x 122.6 x 3.8 cm)
Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund in honor of Paulo Herkenhoff
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

Research in progress; information about this work may be incomplete.

Installation views

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2017, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired as promised gift from Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

Exhibition history

New York, New Museum of Contemporary Art, "Cildo Meireles", November 18, 1999 - March 5, 2000 and tour:
São Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, July 13 - August 20, 2000
Rio de Janeiro, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, October 5 - December 2, 2000

Prague, Národní galerie Praha, Veletržní Palác, “Beyond Preconceptions: The Sixties Experiment”, November 2, 2000 - January 14, 2001 and tour:
Buenos Aires, Centro Recoleta, April 2001
São Paulo, Museum of Brazilian Art, August 2001
Rio de Janeiro, Paco Imperial, September 2001
Berkeley, Berkeley Art Museum, October 31, 2001 - January 13, 2002

São Paulo, Museo de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, “Paralelos: Arte brasileira da segunda metade do século xx em contexto. Collección Cisneros”, March 21 - June 16, 2002 and tour:
Rio de Janeiro, Museo de Arte Moderna de Rio de Janeiro, July 11 - September 22, 2002

Buenos Aires, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, "Geo-metrías Abstracción geométrica latinoamericana en la Colección Cisneros", March 14 - May 19, 2003

Lima, Museo de Arte de Lima, "Diálogos. Arte Latinoamericano desde la Colección Cisneros", July 22 - September 26, 2004 and tour:
Santiago, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, November 25 - February 28, 2005
Bogotá, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, May 5 - June 29, 2005

Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, - November 1, 2018


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