Antonio Dias is one of the leading figures in 20th century Brazilian art, having achieved international recognition early on in his career, during the mid-1960s. His early offerings were politically-infused drawings, paintings and assemblages permeated by elements from Brazilian Neo-Figurativism and Pop Art, which earned him the status of representative of New Brazilian Figuration and got him into the IV La Biennale de Paris (1965), whose painting prize he won. His practice, however, converses with the legacy of the concrete and neo-concrete movements, as well as the revolutionary drive of Tropicália.
The Biennale de Paris prize enabled him to travel across Europe, and following a stint in Paris he settled in Milan. There, he embraced a conceptual approach, creating paintings, films, videos, documentation and artist’s books, and tapping into each of those mediums to question the meaning of art. In approaching eroticism, sex and political oppression in a playful, subversive way, he built an unparalled, conceptual oeuvre brimming with formal elegance, interspersed with political issues and scathing critiques of the art system. In the 1980s, he turned to painting anew, experimenting with metallic and mineral pigments like gold, copper, iron oxide and graphite, mixed with various binders. Most of his works from this period boast a metallic sheen and contain a wide variety of symbols – bones, crosses, rectangles, phalluses – reminiscent of his earliest works.
Source: Galeria Nara Roesler