Marcelo Cidade participates in the Oslo Biennalen, held in the city of Oslo, Norway, in the central area of Grønland, from October 18th, 2019, until April 24th, 2020. The event is curated by Eva González-Sancho Bodero and Per Gunnar Eeg Tverbakk, takes place in public spaces and it’s in it’s first edition, which will last 5 years – until 2024.
The Brazilian artist presents an outdoor sculpture installation under the Nylandsbrua bridge and placed at the border between two districts. The piece of art adopts the function of a movable gate that partly gives way or blocks access depending on its position. Cidade’s installation reflects on the circulation of citizens, the idea of flux and the concept of individual freedom.
Cidade’s piece is a revolving barred gate in steel that pivots on its axis, a bar at its centre, and resembles a manually operated revolving door. The area beneath Nylandsbrua bridge is a notorious site of shady activities that separates the Grønland area, which has always been a district with its own identity, from the rest of the city. Now, the area is famous for its immigrant population of mainly Muslim origins.
In the 1840s, Grønland was situated outside the city borders and was defined by prostitution, alcoholism and petty crime, what led the authorities to propose making the region a “free city”. Although it remained impoverished, Grønland became a part of Oslo. It was where cholera epidemics first broke out and where the Salvation Army was first established in Norway, as explained in the exhibition’s release. So, the boundary between the area and the rest of the city has a long history and is strongly felt by the citizens.
With his work, Cidade aims to “reminds us that politicians have the power to set up barriers and gates between desirable and undesirable areas, gates that can shut people out – or in. But this gate is easy to traverse, and invites us to swing it around, climb on it, play with it. Here, it is the population that has the power” (information section of the art piece in the Oslo Biennalen website).