Cinthia Marcelle, A morta, 2019; Installation view, CCA Wattis Institute; Courtesy of the artist and Vermelho, São Paulo. Photo: Johnna Arnold

Brazilian artist Cinthia Marcelle to transform CCA Wattis into a radio station

In a new commission, Marcelle will convert the Wattis galleries into a temporary radio station for her first solo exhibition in California. On view November 26, 2019–January 18, 2020.

San Francisco, CA­—CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is pleased to present a new installation by Cinthia Marcelle for her first solo exhibition in California. As one of Brazil’s most significant contemporary artists, Marcelle has exhibited widely internationally, including representing Brazil at the 57th Venice Biennale. In this new commission, Marcelle will convert the galleries into a temporary radio station where the public can participate in live programming in the gallery and on their phones via the online platform aarea, which showcases artworks specifically created for the internet. Throughout the course of the exhibition, a series of programs on the station will activate the installation, ranging from DJ sets and lectures to comedy and news, and will be on air 24 hours a day. aarea will also contribute radio programming from São Paulo, Brazil, specifically for Marcelle’s installation that Bay Area audiences can experience through aarea’s website or in the gallery. In line with her previous work, the installation destabilizes the expectation of creative authorship in favor of collective decision-making, resulting in playful, dramatic, and unexpected interventions.

“Cinthia’s ambitious project will connect North and South Americans, providing an auditory shortcut across time and space. We are thrilled Wattis is able to provide a platform for this significant contemporary artist to create new, experimental work where Bay Area audiences can take part.”

— Kim Nguyen

CCA Wattis curator

Marcelle’s exhibition at CCA Wattis is structured around the Brazilian poet and writer Oswald de Andrade’s 1937 play A morta (The Dead Woman). In this forceful text, Andrade investigates the relationship between theater, life, and death, employing theater metaphors to express a fundamental impulse toward change. The play considers the social implications of an artist’s relationship to art and the desire to re-engage art in the conflicts of everyday life. The work reflects Marcelle’s own questions related to her practice in the wake of rising social inequality caused by multiple political and economic crises, both in the artist’s home country of Brazil and across the world.

Similar to the play, Marcelle’s installation is an instrument for its own transformation. Through song selection, participants assume the roles of characters in Andrade’s play, their choices constructing and deconstructing the script. Audio will stream into the gallery space, where viewers will listen in real time to a chorus of sounds and voices, as well as pauses, moments of silence, and brisk interruptions that progressively compose a narrative sequence. Simultaneously involving music and theater, the collective aspect of the work enables abstract conversations that echo the polyphony/cacophony of contemporary social media and messaging apps, while questioning our ongoing pursuit of modernization and the alienation it precipitates. The exhibition is inspired by the collective action of protest movements, while experimenting with the ways intervention and disorder can dismantle patriarchal structures.

Marcelle’s varied oeuvre, which includes installation, performance, drawing, and video, questions notions of social inequality and hierarchy and explores themes of occupation, labor, materiality, and the environment. Her compositions are at once satirical and lighthearted, and her actions create situations that challenge our notions of conventional behavior by introducing humorous coincidences and connections. Commonplace rhythms, patterns, and events are an infinite resource of meaning in her work, and she is inspired by the chaos and turmoil of possibilities which can be found in everyday life.

About Cinthia Marcelle

Cinthia Marcelle (b. 1974, Belo Horizonte, Brazil) lives and works in São Paulo. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions internationally. Recent solo exhibitions have taken place at Modern Art Oxford (2017); Logan Center Exhibitions, University of Chicago (2017); MoMA PS1 (2016); and Secession, Vienna (2014). She represented Brazil at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), winning a Special Mention. Her work has been included in significant group exhibitions and biennials, including Desert X (2019); Berlin Biennale (2018); Sharjah Biennial (2013 and 2015); Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre (2013); Istanbul Biennial (2013); Auckland Triennial (2013); New Museum Triennial (2012); Bienal de São Paulo (2010); Biennale de Lyon (2007); Bienal de Havana (2006); as well as Soft Power, a major group exhibition opening at SFMOMA in October 2019. In 2010, she was awarded the first Future Generation Art Prize.

About CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts

Founded in 1998 at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and located a few blocks from its campus, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is a nonprofit exhibition venue and research institute dedicated to contemporary art and ideas. As an exhibition space, it commissions and shows new work by emerging and established artists from around the world. Recent solo exhibitions include Abbas Akhavan: cast for a folly; Akosua Adoma Owusu: Welcome to the Jungle (which traveled to the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans); Diamond Stingily: Doing the Best I Can; Rosha Yaghmai: Miraclegrow; Adam Linder: Full Service (which traveled to Mudam Luxembourg); Ken Lum: What’s Old is Old for a Dog; Henrik Olesen: The Walk; Melanie Gilligan: Partswholes; Howard Fried: Derelicts; Laura Owens: Ten Paintings; Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys: Tram 3 (which traveled to MoMA PS1); Josephine Pryde: Lapses in Thinking by the Person I Am (which traveled to ICA Philadelphia and earned Pryde a 2016 Turner Prize nomination); K.r.m. Mooney: En, set; Sam Lewitt: More Heat Than Light (which traveled to Kunsthalle Basel and the Swiss Institute, New York); and Ellen Cantor: Cinderella Syndrome (which traveled to Künstlerhaus Stuttgart). A recent group exhibition, Mechanisms, traveled to Secession in Vienna in an expanded form entitled Other Mechanisms.

As a research institute, the Wattis dedicates an entire year to reflect on the work of a single artist, which informs a regular series of public programs and publications involving the field’s most prominent artists and thinkers. The 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha; past seasons featured Joan Jonas, Andrea Fraser, David Hammons, Seth Price, and Dodie Bellamy.

The Wattis also hosts an annual Capp Street Artist-in-Residence, one of the earliest and longest-running artist-in-residence programs in the country, founded in 1983 by Ann Hatch as Capp Street Project, and incorporated into the Wattis Institute in 1998. Each year, an artist comes to live and work in San Francisco for a semester, teaches a graduate seminar at CCA, and presents an exhibition. Recent participants include Abbas Akhavan (2018–2019), contemptorary (2017–2018), Melanie Gilligan (2016–2017), Carissa Rodriguez (2015–2016), Nairy Baghramian (2014–2015), Claire Fontaine (2013–2014), Ryan Gander (2012–2013), Harrell Fletcher and Kris Martin (2011–2012), Paulina Olowska and Renata Lucas (2010–2011), and Abraham Cruzvillegas (2009–2010).

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About California College of the Arts

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) educates students to shape culture and society through the practice and critical study of art, architecture, design, and writing. Benefiting from its San Francisco Bay Area location, the college prepares students for lifelong creative work by cultivating innovation, community engagement, and social and environmental responsibility.

CCA offers a rich curriculum of 22 undergraduate and 11 graduate programs in art, design, architecture, and writing taught by a faculty of expert practitioners. Attracting promising students from across the nation and around the world, CCA is one of the 10 most diverse colleges in the U.S.

Graduates are highly sought-after by companies such as Pixar/Disney, Apple, Intel, Facebook, Gensler, Google, IDEO, Autodesk, Mattel, and Nike, and many have launched their own successful businesses. Alumni and faculty are often recognized with the highest honors in their fields, including Academy Awards, AIGA Medals, Fulbright Scholarships, Guggenheim Fellowships, MacArthur Fellowships, National Medal of Arts, and the Rome Prize, among others.

CCA is creating a new, expanded college campus at its current site in San Francisco, spearheaded by the architectural firm Studio Gang. The new campus design will be a model of sustainable construction and practice; will unite the college’s programs in art, crafts, design, architecture, and writing in one location to create new adjacencies and interactions; and will provide more student housing than ever before.

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