Pinacoteca de São Paulo presents largest ever retrospective exhibition on Marta Minujín in Brazil

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Pinacoteca de São Paulo presents largest ever retrospective exhibition on Marta Minujín in Brazil
Installation view of 'Marta Minujín: Live' at Pinacoteca de São Paulo.

SÃO PAULO.- Pinacoteca de São Paulo, a museum run by the São Paulo State Department of Culture and Creative Economy, presents Marta Minujín: Live, the first retrospective exhibition in Brazil dedicated to Minujín, one of the most significant Latin American artists of her generation. The exhibition is curated by Ana Maria Maia and is set out on all seven rooms of the second floor of Pinacoteca Luz.

Its guiding thread is the artist’s contribution to an avant-garde that thinks about Latin America both in micro- and macro-political terms.

The show brings together more than a hundred works from 1963 to the present and gives a new presentation to the iconic El Batacazo, first created in the Torcuato Di Tella Institute in 1965, as well as to works such as Galeria Blanda [Soft Gallery] (1973) and La caída de los mitos universales [The Downfall of Universal Myths] (1978-). At the Pina Luz parking lot, an inflatable structure will be welcoming the public on the first days of the exhibition. The Escultura de los deseos [Sculpture of Desires] (2022) is 15 meters high and was a great success at the Argentinian Lollapalooza.

Marta Minujín achieved artistic recognition in the early years of her career, in the 1960s. Internationally recognized as the great pioneer of happening and participatory art, Minujín has been producing tirelessly to this day, shifting between different media, scales, and artistic and social circuits. With her mirrored glasses and larger-than-life personality, this artist features in important chapters of art history and has lived through new realism, pop art, conceptualism, public art, and multimedia art.

“The exhibition celebrates the power with which her entire trajectory not only mirrors but also intensifies the forms of lived reality. ‘Live’ is a phrase that alludes to liveliness, bodily presence, and even more directly denotes urgency in the vocabulary of mass media, a discursive and technological platform that has always attracted the artist’s attention. Whether in radio and TV broadcasts in the 1960s or on her Instagram channel today, Marta has created art as an excuse for herself and for all people to be able to express themselves with energy and freedom,” the curator says.

From mattresses to monuments

Marta Minujín: Live reviews crucial moments in the artist’s career, although it is not organized chronologically. The exhibition begins with a set of mattresses, which set out her creative statement in the 1960s within the framework of new realism. The use of mattresses, twisted and painted in lively hues, resulted from Minujín’s interest in bringing art closer to the dynamics of life by appropriating industrial materials. The public can walk through a gallery of multicolored mattresses and wefts, which documents La chambre d’amour [The Love Room] (1963) and works such as Eróticos en technicolor [Erotism in Technicolor] (1964) or Freaking on fluo (2010), as well as Galeria Blanda [Soft Gallery], a 1973 installation made with 200 mattresses, which has been recreated for Pinacoteca. In the shape of a “white cube,” this anti-gallery invites visitors to rest or play.

In the third room of the exhibition, the artist’s historic installation El Batacazo was also recreated especially for the Pinacoteca, 58 years after its first presentation at the Instituto Di Tella in Buenos Aires, in 1965. In keeping with the spirit of a generation immersed in growing mediatization and based on the writings of Marshall McLuhan, the artist employed participatory strategies to take a personal stance towards the culture industry. At the time, four kinds of media icons led visitors

through the installation, past rugby players, upstairs to meet playboys and cosmonauts, and down a slide to fall on the face of Italian actress Virna Lisi. At the Pinacoteca, the rugby players have now been replaced by soccer players from Brazil and Argentina.

Minujín’s research on the social phenomenon of communication and its multiplying potential resulted in several works, which are documented mostly in the fourth exhibition room: works such as Simultaneidad en simultaneidad [Simultaneity in Simultaneity] (1966) and Leyendo las noticias en el Río de la Plata [Reading the News on the Plate River] (1965). In the political context of the 1970s, the proliferation of military dictatorships throughout Latin America led to artistic practices aimed at raising socio-political awareness and promoting integration between Latin American countries. The artist’s most emblematic work in this sense was Comunicando con tierra (1976), which has been reassembled for this exhibition.

The fifth room of the exhibition focuses on works in which native fruits and vegetables represent resources that define a national identity, such as the photo performance El pago de la deuda externa argentina con maíz [Paying Argentina’s Foreign Debt with Maize] (1985) and Arte agrícola en acción [Agricultural Art in Action] (1978-1979). Another path taken by Minujín to intervene in Argentinian political imagery was to act in public spaces: for the São Paulo Latin American Biennial, in 1978, for instance, the artist contributed the work El obelisco acostado [The Fallen Obelisk], in which she staged a journey of the famous monument from the Plaza de la República in Buenos Aires to the Biennial pavilion, “transferring the myth from one country to the other.” Now, the Argentinian obelisk, laid down and reconfigured, occupies the sixth exhibition room of Pina Luz. The installation anticipated features of the series La caída de los mitos universales [The Downfall of Universal Myths], which includes works such as El obelisco de pan Dulce [The Sweet Bread Obelisk] (1979) and El Partenón de libros [Book Parthenon] (1983), which have been documented in this gallery.

The show ends with one of the artist’s most recent video installations, Implosión! [Implosion!] (2021). The new version of the work calls for the visitor’s immersion in a multicolored musical cube. The design is based on animated photographs of details of a historical mattress and reflects the artist’s perception that the present age is a barrage of sensory stimuli. The work’s circularity allows a glimpse of Marta Minujín’s sixty-year career in its persistence and repertoire.

Marta Minujín: Live is sponsored by Vivo (Platinum Quota), Mattos Filho (Gold Quota), Ternium (Silver Quota), and Iguatemi São Paulo and Ageo (Bronze Quota).


Born in Buenos Aires in 1943, Marta Minujín has achieved great acclaim both in Argentina and abroad and is still active today. Throughout her career she has been the ambassador of the pop movement in Argentina, in which capacity she interpreted an international movement in the light of Argentinian references. Although she has identified with the pop label, her production is in fact multidisciplinary, combining aspects of pop art with the happening and conceptual art. Also, in spite of gender prejudice, Minujín has been present in creative and intellectual environments in major artistic capitals of the world and has featured in important chapters of art history from the second half of the 20th century onwards.

Pinacoteca de São Paulo
Marta Minujín: Live
July 29th, 2023 - January 24th, 2024

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