For her films and photographs, the Brazilian artist Cinthia Marcelle carefully creates situations and performative actions that reflect social or financial structures. The way in which she stages the mundane, eccentric, and local opens up perspectives on global issues. To ensure that her actions may be read as images and playful metaphors, she relies on a rigorous formal language, for instance by composing her filmic documentaries as unedited aerial shots.
In her ongoing series Unus Mundus, Cinthia Marcelle presents isolated incidents in which the confusion of everyday life undergoes reorganization. In Confronto (2005), for example, she precipitates a collision between man and machine: eight artistes juggling burning torches perform in front of waiting cars at an intersection in central Belo Horizonte. Defying expectations, they keep at it as the traffic light turns green. That immediately triggers a cacophony of car horns, but as a group, the artistes have the power to stop traffic and confront the drivers instead of entertaining them.
Another film, O Século (The Century) (2011), shot with Tiago Mata Machado, opens on an unidentified empty street; on its other side is a wall topped with barbed wire. More and more household garbage and industrial detritus like car tires, neon tubes, and indefinable lumps of dirt is hurled into the picture from the right, before the scene quiets down and is resolved; then the entire process repeats, only this time the garbage comes from the left. As the title suggests, the act of aggression refers not to a specific historic event. Rather, the conception of the video refers to Walter Benjamin’s idea of history as a process of inevitable decay, “history as ruin” as an allegory that goes beyond the idea of beauty.
Cinthia Marcelle was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 1974 and lives and works in Belo Horizonte.
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