ALIVE Art | Marcello Dantas
ALIVE Art | Marcello Dantas
Neil Koenig, ex BBC producer and current ideaXme board advisor and guest interviewer, interviews curator Marcello Dantas. Are humans the only creatures who can appreciate art? Perhaps not, says Marcello Dantas. His latest project aims to create “art that’s meaningful to other species”, such as birds, bees, or bats. Mr Dantas, a curator who has worked with many internationally known artists, is no stranger to innovative ventures. In 2021, he was appointed curator of the SFER IK Museion, located in the jungle near Tulum, Mexico - and this might be his most unusual undertaking so far. SFER IK, described as “an interdisciplinary arts centre”, is an unusual structure built largely from natural materials. It’s the creation of the architect and social entrepreneur Roth, who’s also the founder of the nearby Azulik hotel. Although construction was complete by late 2019, the pandemic meant activity had to be paused. The museum is now due to relaunch in March 2022, with a show by Japanese artist Makoto Azuma, known for pioneering work with plants and flowers. The centrepiece will be a 15m high “artificial tree, made of plants” explains Mr Dantas, which will have “a common nutrient body that will feed this amazing biodiversity that will exist inside the museum.” A key goal will be to try to create what he calls “bio-agreeable” art - work in tune with its location, in this case, in the middle of a jungle in which humans are a distinct minority. It’s also one example of the kind of work that Marcello Dantas finds particularly exciting: pieces that are integrated with their setting. Another is an exhibit which will appear soon at SFER IK, by Mexican artist Hector Zamora. This will involve the use of thousands of balls, moving around inside the gallery: “it will be like you are inside of a giant pinball machine’ explains Mr Dantas. “Think about what's the most prohibited thing in a museum, apart from setting it on fire - playing football perhaps? But what if the museum plays football with you?” For Marcello Dantas, works like these point towards an exciting future for art, and away from the current approach of the modern art world, which he finds a little dispiriting: “you see a painting hanging on a white wall in Hong Kong, and then you see the same painting on a white wall in New York”. For him this model is sterile: “we want to go from sterility to fertility”. In this ideaXme interview, Marcello Dantas talks to producer, journalist and ideaXme board adviser Neil Koenig, about his career in the world of art, his plans for the SFER IK museum, and how he sees the future of art developing. Marcello Dantas is an award-winning curator and artistic director specialising in interdisciplinary practices both in and outside Brazil. He was the name behind the conception of distinct museums and cultural institutions across South America, such as the Museum of Portuguese Language; Japan House Sao Paulo and the Museum of Nature in Brazil; Museo del Caribe and Museo del Carnaval in Colombia; and the Telecommunications Museum in Argentina. In 2021, he was appointed curator of the SFER IK Museion in Tulum, Mexico. He has also curated some of the most popular solo shows of the last decade, including Ai Weiwei’s Raiz, the largest exhibition ever staged by the artist in Brazil in 2018. Marcello Dantas has also curated several solo exhibitions with some of the most influential contemporary artists of today, including Anish Kapoor, Laurie Anderson, Erwin Wurm, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jenny Holzer, Rebecca Horn, Bill Viola and many more. Since 2014, he has become part of the curatorial board at the Vancouver Biennale, and in 2020, he was appointed curator of the 13th Biennial Mercosul that will take place in Brazil in 2022. Interview links Neil ideaXme ideaXme ideaXme is a global network - podcast on 12 platforms, 40 countries, mentor programme and creator series. More soon. Get involved: Mission: To share knowledge of the future. Our passion: Rich Connectedness™!