artist / participant

press release

Opening Saturday 2 May, 6pm - 9pm

Mauricio Dias and Walter Riedweg have been working together since 1993. They look for social groups who soon end up on the fringes of society and involve them in the creation of their work by means of workshops and interactive experiments. In Brussels they are also looking for interaction with the inhabitants. In their latest project a removal truck serves as a cinema and traverses several Brussels districts. Dias & Riedweg film the reactions of passers-by and residents and gauge the social divisions in the city. The result can be seen at Argos along with five other recent installations by the two artists. At the heart of the exhibition is Funk Staden. The installation shows a group of funk dancers from the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and prints from a 16th-century report of a journey to the New World. The dancers imitate the prints with sardonic pleasure: instead of cannibalism, a barbecue; rather than ritual dances, they offer raw, stirring rhythms from funk carioca. In this counter-cultural musical genre, so typical of Brazil, the tension between the official written history and the local reality is expressed unlike anything. The same physical appeal radiates from The Universe of the Ball. This installation shows how ‘the other’ and the ‘culture of the other’ are always subject to perceptions. The Brazilian flag and constitution, read out loud by a homeless drag queen, are treated with contempt. Visitors are invited to weigh themselves on a floor full of bathroom scales. The interactive weight of the visitors suggests the weight of their participation (or lack of it) in the light of the complexity of global politics and nationalism.

Mauricio Dias (born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1964) and Walter Riedweg (born in Lucerne, Switzerland, 1955) have been working together since 1993, using their respective former experiences in the visual arts and performance in collaborative interdisciplinary public art projects. Their work investigates how private psychologies affect and constitute public space and vice-versa, having as its main characteristic the involvement of the audience in the creation and execution of the work itself. Dias & Riedweg are currently represented by Galeria Vermelho, Sao Paulo and Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon. They received the jury prize at Festival Video Brazil, Sao Paulo (2007) and recognition grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, New York and Fondation Pro Helvetia, Switzerland. Dias & Riedweg have realised art projects and exhibitions in Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Egypt, China, Japan, the United States and in several countries in Europe. Their work was exhibited in important art institutions such as Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro; MACBA Barcelona; KIASMA Helsinki; and Le Plateau Paris, as well as in major international exhibitions such as “Conversations at the Castle”, by Homi Bhabha and Mary Jane Jacob, Atlanta (1996); “L’État des Choses” by Catherine David, at Kunst-Werke Berlin (2001); and “The Populism Project” (2005).

Dias & Riedweg. Moving Truck and Recent Works