The first contact that Brazilian imagery and cultural production had with Arnaldo Antunes was by way of popular song—more precisely Brazilian rock and roll, which became one of the most potent products offered for consumption in the 1980s, acting as a soundtrack to the early years of the country’s opening and redemocratization. In 1984, on thetrack Pule (Jump, ft. Paulo Miklos), off the band Titãs’ first album, the nation heard the following verses: “Água do mar é boa/ A água da torneira é boa/ A água da chuva é boa/ Água de colônia/ É boa a água da lagoa, legal” (Seawater is good/ Tap water is good/ Rain water is good/ Cologne water is good/ Water from the lagoon is good, cool). All in the guise of a naïve tune.

Twenty-six years later, Arnaldo has broadened the scope of his research on words, taking his bodily relation with language into multiple directions: from his presence as amusician in the tradition of popular song to his performances (in which he seeks to bring the tongue closer to the body), his output is characterized by nonstop experimenting with the quest for a limit or edge, in which viewers are inevitably faced with the same question that the artist lives with: why does this exist instead of not existing? Whydoes this happen instead of not happening?

In his output, these questions are posed by means of artistic and poetic procedures in which the legacies of constructivism and of popular song verses become mixed with the quest for something undefined, so as to give rise to an element yet unseen, unheard, andunthought-of: a situation and a relation of unfamiliarity, in which the space is open for all.

Arnaldo Antunes is the first artist featured in the Operation for the Masses series,which also includes Wilton Azevedo, and the duo Celia Catunda & Kiko Mistrorigo), which sets out to investigate the presence of the Brazilian Constructivist Project in the national output today, from the perspective of its most revolutionary potential: thatof establishing a creative relation with society.

Further info on this artist available at the collection