Antonio Dias
Chinese monument, 1968/1969
Acrylic on canvas
200 x 290 cm
About Antonio Dias is recognised today as one of Brazil’s leading contemporary artists, his art has always dealt with rupture and he has addressed various themes in the form of conceptual works that are essentially impossible to label.
They incorporate a wide range of techniques and are influenced by various artistic movements, such as pop art and minimalism.
His intensive investigation into the function of art as a linguistic and communicative system, and its relationship to the global cultural industry, led him to explore different media: painting, video, photography, installations and artist’s books.

Antonio Dias was born in Campina Grande in the northeast of Brazil in 1944. He later moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he began working as a graphic designer and illustrator, while also following Oswaldo Goeldi’s classes at the National School of Fine Arts.
In 1964 he held a solo show presented by Pierre Restany at Galeria Relevo in Rio de Janeiro, and also began to exhibit in France.
The award of the Paris Biennial Prize in 1965 enabled him to remain in Paris until the end of 1968, when he moved to Milan and began his collaboration with Studio Marconi.

In 1971 he was the only South American artist invited to the sixth international art exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and he spent the following year in the US on a scholarship from the Guggenheim Foundation. He also experimented with sound, which led to the creation of Record: The Space Between.
In 1977 he travelled to India and Nepal, an experience that stimulated works on handmade paper using natural colours. Between 1978 and 1981 he was back in Brazil and at the Federal University of Paraíba, where he founded the Nucleo de Arte Contemporanea, an organisation aimed at promoting the most current research.

In the early Eighties he resumed his activities in his Milan studio. In 1984, Helmut Friedel curated a major retrospective of Dias’s work at the Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, and Kynaston McShine invited him to take part in a large international exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. In 1988 he exhibited at the Deutsche Akademische Ausstauschdienst (DAAD); he then moved to Cologne, where he lived for twenty years. The Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt, and the Fundação Gulbenkian, Lisbon, both held major exhibitions of his work from 1968 onwards.

Meanwhile, Dias continued his collaboration with Giorgio Marconi, who hosted a solo exhibition in 1995. In 1998 Dias took part in the São Paulo Biennial, and in the years that followed, he maintained his intense exhibition agenda at international galleries and museums, among them, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Niterói; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; the Museu de Arte Moderna, Saõ Paulo; the Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Among the most recent exhibitions have been Anywhere Is My Land at Daros Collections, Zurich (2009) and the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (2010); The World Goes Pop, Tate Modern, London (2015-2016); Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1960-1980, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015- 2016); and International Pop, Philadelphia Museum of Art (2016).
Antonio Dias died on August 1, 2018.