The title of Cildo Meireles’ work While-u-Weight, Wheel of friends/ circle of power (1976 - 2009) creates a double meaning in the phonetic interplay between ‘weight’ and ‘wait’.
The Brazilian artist’s installation in Snekkevika at Dønna is typical of his practice by creating a situation characterised by conceptual simplicity, closeness and immediacy. He employs a visual language that suggests openness and interactivity. Meireles is concerned with inviting the viewer into the expanded realm of his sculptures, which in this case takes the form of an installation. The various elements of the installation have been carefully arranged in space to produce a narrative. The viewer is free to associate and to create his or her own story within the framework suggested by the installation’s form.
Meireiles’ art engages us both physically and mentally, and often invokes other senses than just the eyes. When experiencing his works, we encounter a wide range of materials – from grass to gold – that enable us, for example, to discern different fragrances and become aware of our bodies’ reaction. It is often tempting to touch the tactile and seductive surface of the work.
The artist has carefully chosen the location for the piece at Dønna. Elements surrounding the sculpture are imbued with meaning as we find ourselves in an open landscape, facing the sea, by a fjord that previously had traffic with local passenger boats with multiple stops. We can see the old school, which is now being restored as a cultural heritage site, and the green meadow. Once upon a time, there was a path through the meadow to the church that served the local island community.
We are invited to stand on a round seesaw-like construction buried in the ground. The situation makes us physically aware of our balance and the presence of other people on the same piece of earth with an eight-meter diameter. We become both participants and the object of other people’s gaze. The work of art challenges us both mentally and physically.
: 1955 Oslo, Norge
Lives and work: Rio de Janeiro