Marepe’s sculptures engage in a very interesting discussion with the Duchampian tradition which is based on the fact that since the Urinal, art defined itself in opposition to functionality and engage with the world as a series of meaningful strategies that do not necessarily involve an object.
Marepe’s sculptures are made from everyday materials such as plastic buckets and tables, ironing boards, brooms, bicycles, wheelbarrows, and chipboard. Some titles, such as Embutido Sanfona (embedded accordion), are inspired by popular music, others are factual and descriptive, such as Empilhamento (stacking). The unexpensive materials and the obvious disfunctionality of still functional objects (such as bikes) create visual oximorons that contain the issue of class and exclusion in their materiality.
Thus, he combines quotidian objects and materials to form disarmingly simple monuments, some suggesting abstract forms, others depicting figures engaged in dance-like interaction, and in some cases allowing cut-out chipboard to assist in creating specific figures.Many of Marepe’s titles refer to Brazilian music or lyrics. Embutido Sanfona for example, can be translated as “built-in concertina,” the slightly smaller version of the accordion which is the lead instrument in Forró, a thrilling and infectious folk-pop music from the North-East of Brazil, the region where Marepe grew up and still lives and works. “Embutido Sanfona” also refers to Marepe’s previous wooden models for rooms and trucks and his interest in communal and shared spaces. It is simultaneously a minimalist kinetic sculpture, a model for multi-purpose housing, and a musical celebration.
Marepe’s work speaks, or rather sings of everyday life and love, celebrating and elevating the specific materials and origins of the work to the universal. The ordinary shines in its simple beauty declaring its liberating and transformative power. I like it.
AT ANTON KERN
UNTIL DECEMBER 14TH