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Thao Nguyen Phan: Dangerous Optimism Ocula Conversation Thao Nguyen Phan: Dangerous Optimism Tessa Moldan, Brussels

With Monsoon Melody on view at WIELS, Brussels, her largest solo exhibition to date, Thao Nguyen Phan discusses her transition to film to explore colonial legacies and ecological destruction in Vietnam.

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Frieze Los Angeles: Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Los Angeles: Shows to See Tessa Moldan, Los Angeles

Los Angeles' art scene has a lot to offer during Frieze Los Angeles, with galleries, non-profits, and museums gearing up for the fair's second edition between 14 and 17 February 2020. In this Ocula Lowdown, Tessa Moldan lists a selection of the city's must-see shows.

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Jaki Irvine's Manifesto on Life at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin Ocula Insight Jaki Irvine's Manifesto on Life at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin Apoorva Rajagopal, Dublin

Ack Ro' , Jaki Irvine's reflection on the fragility of life at Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, is an 'ambitious, holistic installation' staged like a 'wild disarray of interconnected yet fragmented pieces'.

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HomePage Artists

(1944 - 2018), Brazil

Antonio Dias Biography

Antonio Dias was a Brazilian artist recognised for his vast body of often politically charged, conceptual artworks that traverse figuration and abstraction.

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Dias' early works are characterised by graphic, cartoonish imagery, which was reminiscent of Brazilian cordel literature and playing cards. References to violence also feature widely in his works, such as in the painting Querida, você está bem? (Darling, are you Alright?) (1964), in which amorphous and abstracted human bodies seem to exhale smoke or blood. In his conversation with Ocula Magazine in 2018, art historian and critic Paulo Sérgio Duarte—curator of Tazibao and other works, Dias' 2018 retrospective at Galeria Nara Roesler in São Paulo—explained that the artist's graphic imagery was in response to the political climate of the time, notably the outset of a military regime in Brazil in 1964. Dias used body parts to allude to political concerns, replacing, for example, the nuclear mushroom with male genitalia, a recurring motif in his oeuvre. In Acidente no Jogo (1964), a red phallus protrudes from a black box alongside a white bone and a red clover-like form with a skull painted on it.

In 1966, Dias left his country and settled in Paris. He relocated to Milan two years later, where he met artists associated with the Arte Povera movement—among them Luciano Fabro and Giulio Paolini—and turned away from figuration towards a narrower palette and more conceptual works. His series 'Illustration of Art' (1971–1978), for example, encompasses paintings, installations, sculptures and films. In The Illustration of Art I (1971)—one of the silent films made with a Super 8 camera—two bandages cross over wounded skin until it heals. During this period, Dias also began printing letters on often monochromatic, gridded paintings, giving them titles such as The Prison (1968) and Occupied Country (1971) to reflect his experiences of living in self-imposed exile.

Between 1977 and 1978, Dias spent five months in a remote village in Nepal learning the traditional Nepalese craft of papermaking. Created by mixing materials such as soot, clay and iron oxide with paper, his new medium generated soft, muted colours and texture that signalled yet another stylistic shift in the artist's work. In The Illustration of Art / Tool & Work (1972), a pair of handmade papers show the handprints of Dias and a local.

In the 1990s, Dias resumed working with a brighter colour palette and painterly form, with the addition of metallic pigments. He began arranging canvases and small objects into sculptural compositions such as in Cranks (1999), which comprises two canvases—one copper leaf and the other painted in red—flanking a larger grey painting like a pair of ears. Two elongated and phallic rods dangle from the bottom of the central canvas, adding a whimsical quality to the work. In Untitled (2011)—a row of three large canvases of the same size with two smaller paintings mounted on them—the abstract, swirling pattern of the red painting is in a permanent state of tension with the grid patterns that surround it.

Dias' work has often been associated with the Pop art movement. Dias agreed to show his work in the group exhibitions International Pop at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and The World Goes Pop at Tate Modern, London, in 2015. However, in an interview with The New York Times in 2015, he stated: 'I always protest when I'm accused of being Pop—it's not my party', noting that he agreed to participate only because the shows promised to look again at the early 1960s. In his interview with Ocula Magazine, Duarte also noted that Dias' practice departed significantly not only from the lighter mood of American Pop art but also from the genre itself in that Dias never used ready-made commodities. He was exposed to the works of Brazilian avantgarde artists such as Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark and Lygia Pape, who were associated with Grupo Frente, a movement that rejected the then-prevalent nationalist tendencies in Brazilian modernist painting and concrete art, which advocated for the use of geometric forms and unmodulated colours and a dismissal of symbolic meaning. In the late 1960s, Dias also aligned with fellow Brazilian artists to partake in the tropicália movement, which sought to uncover the harsh realities under the increasingly autocratic Brazilian government and responded to the Nova Figuração (New Figuration) movement, becoming one of its leading proponents to revive figuration in art.

Dias' work has been exhibited internationally including at Sharjah Art Foundation (2018); Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo (2018, 2016); Beijing Minsheng Art Museum (2017); and Philadelphia Museum of Art (2016). His work is also in the collections of Fondazione Marconi, Milan; Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, among others.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018

Antonio Dias Featured Artworks

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Sun Photo as Self-portrait by Antonio Dias contemporary artwork
Antonio DiasSun Photo as Self-portrait, 1968Acrylic paint on canvas
150 x 150 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Enquire about this work
The Space: Culture by Antonio Dias contemporary artwork
Antonio DiasThe Space: Culture, 1970Acrylic paint on canvas
150 x 150 x 2.5 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Enquire about this work
Untitled by Antonio Dias contemporary artwork
Antonio DiasUntitled, 1989Acrylic and graphite on canvas
40 x 120 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Enquire about this work
Cavalo de Troia by Antonio Dias contemporary artwork
Antonio DiasCavalo de Troia, 1976Pigments on cotton fibre paste with cutouts
58 x 144 cm
Not For Sale
Galeria Nara Roesler
Ta Tze Bao by Antonio Dias contemporary artwork
Antonio DiasTa Tze Bao, 197214 sheets of red paper and 14 flag's shaped canvase painted in red
Galeria Nara Roesler Enquire about this work
Factories future by Antonio Dias contemporary artwork
Antonio DiasFactories future, 1986Works on paper
109 x 80 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Enquire about this work
Factories future by Antonio Dias contemporary artwork
Antonio DiasFactories future, 1982Works on paper
56.5 x 80 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Enquire about this work
Demarcationg Territories by Antonio Dias contemporary artwork
Antonio DiasDemarcationg Territories, 1982Works on paper
58 x 83 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Enquire about this work

Antonio Dias Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Archaeologies of the Selfie at Galeria Nara Roesler, New York
Upcoming
28 February–18 April 2020 Group Exhibition Archaeologies of the Selfie Galeria Nara Roesler, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Antonio Dias, Ta Tze Bao at Galeria Nara Roesler, New York
Closed
22 January–16 February 2019 Antonio Dias Ta Tze Bao Galeria Nara Roesler, New York

Antonio Dias Represented By

Antonio Dias In Ocula Magazine

Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia Ocula Report Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia Fawz Kabra, New York

Bridging almost a century of Brazilian art, Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia at Blum & Poe in New York (30 April–22 June 2019), hosted in collaboration with Mendes Wood DM, offers a rereading of Brazilian Modernism through the works of artists practising at different times, from the 20th century through to...

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Paulo Sérgio Duarte on Antonio Dias Ocula Conversation Paulo Sérgio Duarte on Antonio Dias Fawz Kabra, São Paulo

In 1963, at the age of 19, Antonio Dias emerged as one of the leading artists in Brazil with confrontational paintings like Ahh! (1963), in which red and black cartoon figures appear to fuse together as they engage in hair-raising combat. As the military dictatorship took power in 1964, transformations in art and culture exposed Dias to the...

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Antonio Dias In Related Press

Remembering the Fragile Unity of Brazilian artist Antonio Dias (1944–2018) Related Press Remembering the Fragile Unity of Brazilian artist Antonio Dias (1944–2018) 18 August 2018, Frieze

On 1 August, Brazilian artist Antonio Dias lost a long battle to cancer at the age of 74. Beginning in the 1960s, the artist produced a vast body of work that, in formal and conceptual terms, stood in stark contrast to the sunny output of the previous decade.

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ANTONIO DIAS (1944–2018) Related Press ANTONIO DIAS (1944–2018) 9 August 2018, Artforum

THE MORNING AFTER the opening of Antonio Dias's 2009 retrospective at Daros, Zurich, the news broke that a fire in Rio had consumed the vast majority of Hélio Oiticica's work.

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Antonio Dias, Brazilian Artist Who Poked the Generals, Dies at 74 Related Press Antonio Dias, Brazilian Artist Who Poked the Generals, Dies at 74 6 August 2018, The New York Times

Antonio Dias, a Brazilian artist whose early, hot-coloured paintings needled his country’s military dictatorship, and who later turned to subtly political conceptual art while in self-imposed European exile, died on Aug. 1 in Rio de Janeiro. He was 74.

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When the World Went Pop Related Press When the World Went Pop 11 April 2015, The New York Times

For art lovers, and certainly for the collectors now paying tens of millions of dollars per painting at auction, Pop art and its trademark images — Marilyns, Ben-Day dots, Coca-Cola bottles, lipsticked lips — have become 20th century classicism, as canonical as Cubism and as appealing as candy.  But for many artists working...

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