Do pó ao pó [From Dust to Dust], 2016

José Bento
1962, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Lives in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Since the 1980s José Bento has been experimenting with wood sculptures on different scales, as well as with video, installation and photography. His recent production has gone beyond the practice in the studio with site-specific works, such as Chão [Floor] (2004/2016), originally presented at the Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, in 2004, and now occupying a 627m2 space in the Bienal Pavilion during the 32nd Bienal. Parquet flooring covers an area that stretches from one end of the pavilion to the other. The repurposed material – salvaged from demolitions and renovations – is overlaid on springs, changing the surface and producing instability when walked upon. Therefore, a camouflaged topography is created suggesting ambiguity in the landscape. Do pó ao pó [From Dust to Dust] (2016), exhibited here for the first time, is made of matchboxes displayed on mobile street-stands with retractable legs. These are entirely made of Brazilian woods – such as cedar, brauna and redwood – including the matchsticks inside the boxes. The title evokes fire, and proposes a reflection on the relationship between time and matter that makes-up beginnings and ends.