1945, Porto, Portugal. Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In Brazil since 1955, Artur Barrio is a multimedia artist who supports art that is ephemeral and challenging. The artist enters the national scene during the 1960s, amidst the frenzy around experimental art that characterized the artistic production of that period, and establishes a new paradigm by directing his transgressive practice toward the radical rupture from work that is monolithic and dissociated from life. He takes marginal experience, exploration of perception and expansion of sensorial capacity to the limit through actions within the field of “poetic terrorism” to break the traditional gaze and bourgeois mentality. He establishes a network of acts, ideas and behaviors––documented through films and photographs––that face the normative mode, the causal relationships, stirring habits to imbue the spectator with perplexity. Organic materials such as toilet paper, human waste, blood and bones are common in his work and show his intention of casting art to its final destiny: the street, sewer, garbage.
The artist participated in solo exhibitions at Galeria Millan, São Paulo, Brazil (2017, 2014 , 2008 and 1986); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2012); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico (2008); Fonds Régional d'Art Contemporian Provence-Alpes-Côte D’ Azur (2005), Marseille and Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2005); Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2001 and 1982); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1998), among others.
He was the winner of the Velázquez Award in 2011, and the only artist representing Brazil at the 54th Venice Biennale, Italy, that same year. He participated in dozens of group exhibitions including the Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2013, 2010, 2004, 1998, 1996, 1994, 1985, 1983 and 1981); De Collectie (1) / Highlights for a future, SMAK, Gent, Belgium (2019); Insurrecciones/ Uprisings, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain and Memories of Underdevelopment, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, California, USA (2017); Soulèvements/Uprisings, Jeu de Paume, Paris, France (2016); Imagine Brazil – Artists Books, Musee d'art contemporain de Lyon, France (2014); America Latina 1960–2013, Fondation Cartier pour l’art Contemporain, Paris, France (2013); Artists Hands Project, Stedelijk Museum Voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium (2008); Inverted Utopias: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA (2004); dOCUMENTA, Kassel, Germany (2002); De L’adversité, nous vivons, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France (2001), among others.
Barrio’s work is featured in public collections in Brazil, including the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil and Inhotim, Minas Gerais, Brazil and abroad, including Musée d' Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Centre Pompidou, France; S.M.A.K Stedelijk Museum Voor Actuele Kunst, Gent, Belgium; Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA, among others.