Equivalence and imbalance, by Marcelo Cidade
Equivalence and Imbalance by Marcelo Cidade is at Galeria Bruno Múrias, in Lisbon, until November 7. Several sculptures are alluding to Carl Andre’s Equivalents series, albeit in a more aggressive and textured version: a work that presents almost 100 concrete parallelepipeds, adorned with pointed limestone rocks.
Displayed on the floor of the gallery’s main room, the flat parallelepipeds fill the space following the logic of a puzzle or LEGO, in a reference to the conceptions of urbanization, organization, and segmentation of public space.
Large urban centres have restricted areas and limited-access perimeters. This, in itself, is a contradiction, after all the phenomenon occurs precisely in – supposedly – public spaces. Based on this observation, Cidade presents to the visitors, from the moment they enter the gallery, constraints and prohibitions imposed on the locomotion through the space, in a strategic arrangement of the concrete blocks. It is similar to what happens with the placing of stones, barriers, or pointed structures in several urban centres, to keep certain groups of people away; and, as in Barcelona and other world capitals, to avoid the influx of skaters and other groups without defined areas in the city.
In Equivalence and Imbalance, this aggressive and segregated aspect is also found in the pointed stones that cover the concrete slabs. In a kind of micro (or macro) scale of an increasingly visible reality in the city where he lives – São Paulo.
This social and urbanistic reflection is not immediate, but it is nevertheless interesting or pertinent.
In general, Marcelo Cidade’s sculptures are a discreet, polished, and sober reflection on an apparently aesthetic and/or architectural issue, but one that is deeper and more complex. In communication with some of his previous works, Cidade problematizes modernist architecture, public space, and capitalism – and all the emotional and social dimensions that come from them and that communicate with them –, based on a minimalist and resistant series of concrete blocks.