The exhibition at the Optical and Mechanical Plant features the artwork
Installation: wood, paint. Courtesy of the artist
Since the 1990s Maria Thereza Alves has been investigating the devastating effects of Portuguese imperialism on the indigenous peoples of her native Brazil and the impact of the Spanish conquest in the Americas. She works with a wide range of documentary and other representational practices with social engagement and participation.
The context of the Urals with its ancient history provided the artist with an inspiration to think about the art of the native peoples that existed prior to Russian colonization. The main object of this inquiry is the Shigir Idol — the oldest known wooden sculpture in the world, displayed in the Museum of History and Archaeology, to whom the artist pays a poetic tribute with her installation at the Ural Optical and Mechanical Plant building.
Maria Thereza Alves was born in 1961 in Sao Paulo and now lives in Berlin. She is an artist. In 1987, she co-founded the Green Party in Sao Paulo.
Maria Thereza Alves realizes site-specific works on art and ecological issues, local and environmental history involving botanists, public officials, and communities. Her works are based on the idea that in industrialized countries and developing countries, agricultural lands are mostly covered with plants introduced from outside territories.