(b. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1948).
Meireles studied at the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes and the Escola do Museu de Arte Moderna. A conceptual artist, he is deeply rooted in politics, social observation, and cultural commentary. In the late 1960's to early 1970's his "Insertions into Ideological Circuits" made the viewer an active participant in his political commentary. Coca-cola bottles were taken from circulation, silkscreened with the words "Yankee go home" (the American government backed the coup d'etat that began the oppressive military regime) and bank notes stamped with words such as "who killed Herzog?" The bottles and bank notes were re-introduced into circulation forcing those who came across them to make a political choice, to take a stand by destroying the object, keeping it, or putting it back into circulation, exposing more people to their messages.
Since the end of the 1960s Meireles has been redefining new possibilities for conceptual art and his own foundations of ongoing critical interpretation based on a relationship with the viewer's sensorial experience, the critical use of ideological and economic systems of circulation, and finally, an ethical connection with the world at-large.
Meireles has been the recipient of such awards as the 2008 Velazquez Prize for Visual Arts and the 1999 Prince Clauss Award. His work has also received retrospective exhibitions in important institutions as the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Tate Modern, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, and Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro. A dedicated pavilion at Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea holds some of Meireles's important works in the permanent collection.
For this 2002 interview, curator Jennifer Teets sits down with Meireles to discuss his recent work, the contemporary art scene and his historic projects Insertions into Ideological Circuits.
Bio sources: Reina Sofia Museum and ArtSpace