A city as jaw-droppingly beautiful as Rio de Janeiro doesn’t need decoration. But the current citywide public art exhibition, OiR – Other Ideas for Rio, is more than ornamentation. The six projects on display are deliberate interventions meant to provoke interactions among people, and to create new relationships between viewers and the city’s stunning landscape.
The OiR project began in September of this year, and continues until the Olympics begin in Rio in 2016. Curator Marcello Dantas has invited international artists who haven’t completed public projects in Rio before to install works in some of the city’s most picturesque locations. The current group of works is on display until 2nd November.
In the city’s Cinêlandia district, visitors encounter an ethereal Glass Labyrinth by giant of American Minimalism and land art, Robert Morris. A delicate clay dome by UK artist Andy Goldsworthy rests against the Cais do Porto quayside. In the newly inaugurated Madureira Park, a gargantuan twisting wooden structure by Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira can be found. And perhaps the most iconic piece of the group is by Spanish artist and champion of public art Jaume Plensa: Looking into my Dreams is an enormous, surreal, elongated white head perched just offshore in Botafogo Bay.
In addition to these fixed works, two ephemeral projects will take place on specific dates: an audiovisual concert on Praia do Diablo (“Devil’s Beach”) by Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda, and a series of digital projections by Brian Eno mapped onto the Arcos da Lapa historical aqueducts.
This large-scale, highly-funded effort can only add to the city’s building momentum with both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics approaching. Yet these scattered interventions may offer moments of pause as well, places to consider alternate possibilities for the present and the future. As one visitor tweeted on 14th September: “OiR é Rio ao contrário, um Rio pensado diferente” – that is, “OiR is Rio in reverse, a Rio thought differently.” (@BlogueirosABAV)
"Making-of" Video: UK artist Andy Goldsworthy's Clay Dome