Artur Barrio

What happens when an artist who spends all of his life as an outsider is absorbed into the commercial art system?

By Oliver Basciano

Artur Barrio, P...H..., 1969, toilet paper. Photo: César Carneiro. Courtesy the artist Artur Barrio, Situação… ORHHH…ou…5.000…T.E…EM…NY…City…1969, 1969 (installation view, MAM, Rio de Janeiro), paper bag with newspapers, aluminium foam, bag of cement, garbage. Photo: César Carneiro. Courtesy Galeria Millan, São Paulo Artur Barrio, (Ex) Tensões y Pontos (installation view, 54th Biennale di Venezia), 2011. Photo: Cristina Motta

A people living under dictatorship stand fundamentally distanced from their government. The populace is not only disenfranchised, but also cut off from any means of defining its own society. Dictatorial authoritarianism will penetrate culture, commerce, family life and all the other means by which individuals construct a society. While the ‘leader’ appears to embody the society, he is in fact keeping himself apart from society, often using violence or the threat of violence to keep these boundaries in place. Artur…

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