Lot 47
  • 47

Cildo Meireles (b. 1948)

100,000 - 150,000 USD
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  • Cildo Meireles
  • Coração Faquir 1
  • 46 1/2 by 42 1/2 by 3 in.
  • (117.5 by 108 by 7.6 cm)
  • Executed in 1999.
painted wood and nails


Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo


There is very minor surface craquelure throughout the work where the nails have been inserted into the wood. There are some scuffs along the bottom edges of the heart. Otherwise, in good condition.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

The purpose is not always to seek beauty. Maybe the path is more closely linked to the question of truth than beauty. What I find interesting in the art object is when it hi-jacks the viewer, at a certain place and at a certain moment. Even if it's only for a glance, it is you and the object, and you leave that place, that moment, and you have a unique experience, as brief as it may be. It's not ecstasy, but it's something that profoundly alters your normal relation within that space, that street, that city, that country. It's when the object makes the subjects forget themselves. For me, this is very close to what beauty is in art.1

--Cildo Meireles

Born in 1948, Cildo Meireles is arguably one of the most influential conceptual artists of his generation. At the precocious age of twenty-two Meireles' international career was launched when he was featured in the groundbreaking exhibition Information (1970) at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Meireles' career spans over four decades and provides a critical link between Brazil's early 1960s Neo-concretist artists, including Helio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, and Lygia Pape and a younger generation of artists active from the 1990s onwards including Valeska Soares and Ernesto Neto whose artistic practice, like that of their predecessors, focuses on the investigation of notions of perception and the sensorial.

Since the late 1960s, Meireles' artistic practice has focused on the creation of objects and large-scale installations or environments that seduce and encompass the viewer on multiple sensorial levels, while decoding or subverting established systems of circulation, power and information. He is perhaps most well known for his series Inserções em circuitos ideológicos (Insertions in Ideological Circuits) (1970) in which he printed messages of protests against Brazil's military regime onto Coca Cola bottles and bank notes that were then re-circulated and re-used by consumers. The series reflects the type of political and social themes that have been the staple of Meireles' production, while ably engaging ideas about consumption and the mechanisms or systems for circulating goods and information. Part happening, part performance, and part public art project, the series is not only considered a seminal conceptual art work, but prefigures similar strategies employed by artists in the 1990s interested in what has commonly been referred to as "participatory aesthetics."

Known for his use of seemingly ordinary materials, such as money, bones, powder, charcoal, rulers and clocks that Meireles transforms into works of extraordinary poetic and cerebral resonance, Coração Faquir- 1 (Fake Heart - 1) (1999) embodies this approach to artmaking. Made from basic construction supplies—wood, paint and nails—Coração Faquir reflects Meireles' preference for simplicity, although aesthetically a certain Baroque sensibility prevails in the object's overall exuberance, hybridity and its synecdochic reference to the corporeal. The image of a red heart pierced by hundreds of nails is highly symbolically charged and suggests references to love, passion, pain, sacrifice, and spiritual transcendence. Likewise, it recalls the element of fear that permeates much of Meireles' work as a strategy for heightening the viewer's perception and thus engaging the viewer in a sensorial manner that goes beyond mere passive contemplation. Indeed, Coração Faquir is at once seductive and beautiful, while dangerous and menacing. Its meaning is encoded within this dichotomy and is fully reliant on the experience of the viewer. Perhaps that is the moment alluded to by Meireles, that brief space or interstice between truth and perception, "when the object makes the subjects forget themselves" [and we become closer] "to what beauty is in art." Coração Faquir operates at this fissure or intersection, and like much of Meireles' production its meaning is at once complex, open-ended and entirely contingent on the viewer for its completion. 

1 As quoted in "Hans-Michael Herzog in Conversation with Cildo Meireles" in Hans-Michael Herzog, et al, Seduçoes: Valeska Soares, Cildo Meireles, Ernesto Neto, Installations (Zurich: Daros-Latin America, 2006), pp. 88-89.