Still from Luiz Roque’s O Novo Monumento (A New Monument). 2013. Brazil. Courtesy the artist

An Unexpected Future for Modern Monuments

Watch contemporary artist Luiz Roque’s inspired fiction around a modernist legend in Brazil.
Inés Katzenstein Feb 27, 2020

The works of celebrated Brazilian artist Amilcar de Castro (1920–2002) are the result of simple procedures—cutting a plane of thick metal and then bending it into an arc to hold the piece upright. The plane in de Castro’s practice becomes a surface, a void, and a pedestal all at once. One of these works is on view in the current exhibition Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift.

De Castro’s work has an enduring presence in Brazilian art. In his video O Novo Monumento (A new monument) (2013), Luiz Roque (b. 1979, Cachoeira do Sul, Brazil) imagines a world in an uncertain future in which two funky characters find one of Amilcar de Castro’s sculptures in a warehouse, and bring it to the middle of the countryside in a ritualized journey filled with energetic dancing and quiet beauty. The sculpture shines, splendid and solitary, as a monument for a landscape without a foreseeable human audience.

As Roque described his work to me, “Amilcar de Castro’s replica is shown in the middle of nowhere, in a rural Brazil at the end of this century, or the next. There is something festive and hopeful in The New Monument, with those dancing bodies paying homage to the sculpture. It is not strictly a post-apocalyptic perspective but more of an idea of ​​another city, or other possible communities.”

Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift is on view through March 14. Read more in the exhibition catalogue.

Video courtesy of the artist.