Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Mission/Missions (How to build cathedrals)

Cildo Meireles plays with the idea of fear and pleasure in reaction to our surroundings, introducing the connotation of danger or by creating surreal envoirments, allowing the viewer to become part of the installation.
When visiting his exhibition at the tate modern last year i was immediately drawn to the mission/missions (How to build cathedrals) installation.

The glittering coins and bright lights that emerge from the hanging bones overhead create the feeling of stumbling upon hidden treasure. There is a sinister contrast between the money - a symbol of prosperity and power in modern society, and the bones that create a sense of finality and remind us of our mortality.
Meireles is highlighting the connection between material and spiritual power also connecting them physically using communion wafers bringing a religious element to the piece. Meireles states that connecting these three elements creates
" A kind of unavoidable, historically repeated consequence of this conjunction, which was tragedy...there is a degree of genocide involved no matter how good the intentions. The unembellished fact is that one culture or civilisation is absorbing the other."

It is the contrast between your initial reaction and the realisation of the tragic events that initially influenced the piece that highlights the juxtaposition of the works beauty with the harsh realities behind it. However, by keeping this aesthetic quality to his work, Miereles ensures that the piece can still be admired and appreciated without having to have an immediately obvious purpose or function.
" For me the art object must be, despite everything else, instantly seductive" - (Cildo Meireles)