Artur Barrio abandons fetid bundles by the corners of the city; his work as an author is finished. The next author is the passerby, unaware, attracted by the grotesque form that involves blood, flesh, bones and skin. What would that red tangle, randomly arranged, part of a scenario that is everyday life for so many? Would it be a butchered body, something not eaten, disposable? Out of so many possible interpretations, the one least thought by the passerby is that it is a work of art. And it is not. Refuting the symbolic, opening the possibilities of concrete dialogue, the work of Barrio is established with peculiar radicalism.
The bearded young man, slightly bald, screams in the black and white photos, making grimaces. It is the cry of the inconformated creator against the elitism of art, the loss of its provocative essence. Since very young the artist, born in Portugal, was confronted with the materials of neglect, things that are so human and that so often humans repel. He lived for a long time in a very small room, with a notebook as a studio, a growing desire for debris.
In 1969 he begins to unroll toilet paper, to know the red of the flesh and the denunciation character of trash. “After my first unrolled roll of toilet paper it was difficult to contain the process. I performed works with toilet paper on beaches and hills and did not want to do something that was static. Then, it came to me the idea of accumulating garbage inside the museum. I had no concern with cash, prizes, and did not want to sell anything. I wanted to live, to give the sense of adventure that I gave to my work. ”
The conventional object is denied; minimalist art, developed in formal and outdated processes gives way to works that have finite duration and are not built to be caged in the white halls of museums or galleries. The work lacks the architectural context of exhibition, there is no assembly, crates, positioning. He gains the streets and the organic is part of the environment, although it does not need it to happen. Barrio account the comedy of dealers of a small gallery in Rio de Janeiro, where he exhibited, collecting pieces of his work such as coffee powder and fish heads with coarse salt. They wanted to sell. But the art had already left, and what remained were worthless objects, to be collected and thrown away.
Recently, Barrio pronounced himself about the non-importance of spectator in his creative process. “I have no interest in knowing the reaction of the viewer, if he will accept the work or not.” The work survives in its record; therefore its organic character also has to do with its limited duration. Documenting the actions in the video, usually with a Super 8 camera, makes these recordings also part of the material.
“What I am seeking is the contact with reality in its totality, of all that is renegaded, all of which is set aside,” the classicist art is stabbed, no longer matters. From it arises the meat, the nails, the blood, the verve of domestic objects, and the entrails of a production that has life and approaches itself to the lives of those who stares it, in amazement.