The complexity in locating a specific context, space, horizon or place in Dias’ works from this period reflects the artist’s personal experience of self-exile in Europe. Although born in Parabia, Brazil, Dias moved to Paris in 1966 after subtle criticism of his country’s military dictatorship. It was in Paris that Dias came into contact with artists of the Italian avant-garde movement ‘Arte Povera’, and most particularly Luciano Fabro and Giulio Paolini. While Dias’ early canvases married ‘Nova Figuração’ (New Figuration) with the urban aesthetics of graffiti and comic books, he turned towards abstraction in Europe, and this transformation in style is palpable in the present work. The Space: Culture was executed during an exceptionally prolific period in the artist’s career, for in 1971 he was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim fellowship and participated in the Guggenheim International Exhibition, the latter of which displayed the emerging trends of Post-Minimal and Conceptual Art. Here Dias’ work was placed alongside such luminaries as Carl Andre, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, and Donald Judd. This celebrated artist’s recent death in August 2018 has prompted renewed and widespread interest in his diverse oeuvre, and The Space: Culture spectacularly encapsulates Dias’ singular style of abstraction and his outstanding expression of the body and soul of Brazilian art.
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