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Camelô Camelô

Cildo Meireles1998/1998

Inhotim

Inhotim

The following testimony from Cildo Meireles to Giancarlo Hannud, happened on July 27 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, referring to the art piece:

“Camelô [Street Vendor] relates to a childhood memory. As I said, I was born in Rio but lived in Goiânia and Brasília. While living in Goiânia, my father had to go back to Rio every year to do business. He was from Pernambuco, so there was that northeastern canniness, and he told us (his kids), that he would take us to Rio to “de-dumb” us, meaning to smarten us up. So he brought me to Rio several times. I remember we were often in the City centre, because that was where my father had to see people, and there were many street hawkers on the pavement of Araújo Porto Alegre Street, between Rio Branco Avenue and Mexico Street. I was fascinated by three of them in particular: one had a tiny tray and sold only collar stiffeners; another sold bundles of pins, ten or twenty, I don’t know how many, all tied together. These objects were identified as being the most basic of manufactured objects. One was a length of metal that you hit on the tip to turn it into a safety pin, the other was a strip of plastic. The third street vendor that awed me sold a kind of cardboard and elastic puppet on a string that he tied to a recess on a building, which in this case was the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes. By tugging on the string in his pocket, he made the puppet dance on the pavement.
That dancing doll was pure magic for a child. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I was intrigued as to how a person could make a living by selling something as insignificant as a pin, a trifle of a knickknack, or a piece of string. And behind all that, there were furnaces, factory workers, and all the people involved in making this trifle. I have always been intrigued by that. In 1990, I had the idea of doing something with a run of a million, but it did not get off the ground. In 1997, I was thinking about the “million” again and I associate this idea with the three street hawkers. So I decided to do a run of one million collar stiffeners and one million safety pins, and one thousand dolls, totaling one thousand boxes with two trays and a doll. This work was shown for the first time at Galeria Luisa Strina, I wanted to do a puppet that looked like her and got as far as a sketch, but then ended up doing this doll here.”
To read the full text:
HANNUD, Giancarlo. In: BRETT, Guy, Aberto, fechado: caixa e livro na arte brasileira. Catálogo. São Paulo: Pinacoteca do Estado, 2012, p. 281.

The following testimony from Cildo Meireles to Giancarlo Hannud, happened on July 27 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, referring to the art piece:

“Camelô [Street Vendor] relates to a childhood memory. As I said, I was born in Rio but lived in Goiânia and Brasília. While living in Goiânia, my father had to go back to Rio every year to do business. He was from Pernambuco, so there was that northeastern canniness, and he told us (his kids), that he would take us to Rio to “de-dumb” us, meaning to smarten us up. So he brought me to Rio several times. I remember we were often in the City centre, because that was where my father had to see people, and there were many street hawkers on the pavement of Araújo Porto Alegre Street, between Rio Branco Avenue and Mexico Street. I was fascinated by three of them in particular: one had a tiny tray and sold only collar stiffeners; another sold bundles of pins, ten or twenty, I don’t know how many, all tied together. These objects were identified as being the most basic of manufactured objects. One was a length of metal that you hit on the tip to turn it into a safety pin, the other was a strip of plastic. The third street vendor that awed me sold a kind of cardboard and elastic puppet on a string that he tied to a recess on a building, which in this case was the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes. By tugging on the string in his pocket, he made the puppet dance on the pavement.
That dancing doll was pure magic for a child. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I was intrigued as to how a person could make a living by selling something as insignificant as a pin, a trifle of a knickknack, or a piece of string. And behind all that, there were furnaces, factory workers, and all the people involved in making this trifle. I have always been intrigued by that. In 1990, I had the idea of doing something with a run of a million, but it did not get off the ground. In 1997, I was thinking about the “million” again and I associate this idea with the three street hawkers. So I decided to do a run of one million collar stiffeners and one million safety pins, and one thousand dolls, totaling one thousand boxes with two trays and a doll. This work was shown for the first time at Galeria Luisa Strina, I wanted to do a puppet that looked like her and got as far as a sketch, but then ended up doing this doll here.”
To read the full text:
HANNUD, Giancarlo. In: BRETT, Guy, Aberto, fechado: caixa e livro na arte brasileira. Catálogo. São Paulo: Pinacoteca do Estado, 2012, p. 281.

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  • Title: Camelô Camelô
  • Creator: Cildo Meireles, Cildo Meireles
  • Date Created: 1998/1998, 1998/1998
  • Location: Inhotim, Inhotim
  • Physical Dimensions: 39 x 30 x 7cm, 39 x 30 x 7cm
  • Medium: 1.000 pins, 1.000 fins, 1 doll, 1 motor, 1 box, 1 thread, strings and screws, 1.000 pins, 1.000 fins, 1 doll, 1 motor, 1 box, 1 thread, strings and screws

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