Paulo Nazareth
(Minas Gerais, Governador Valadares, Brazil, 1977)

MC – Bestiary of Capital, 2019

Origamis made from the artist’s collection of international currencies; 4 works
Variable dimensions, each 10 x 30 x 20 cm (framed)
[Photo: Courtesy Paulo Nazareth and Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, Brussels, New York]

For over a decade Paulo Nazareth was at the front line as concerns the conservation of the environment, especially in Brazil, in North and South America, and in Europe, reflecting on the exploitation and the commodification of the natural world.Bestiary of Capital consists of bills found and collected by the artist during his continuing nomadic journey around the world.

Each bill represents one or more animals that are of symbolic and identity-related value for the people making the currency, but most of which are extinct. Metaphorically, Nazareth brings them back to life by creating origamis that reproduce their exact form, using the same bills that portray them. By evoking the capitalist system based on money and symbol-images (stamps), the artist also refers to a third element that belongs to this system as well: debt, but in this case conceived as the indebtedness of human beings toward the natural world that they have exploited to such an extent that the lives of animals have been commodified.

Paulo Nazareth had recent solo shows at ICA Miami, Miami (2019); Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte (2018); Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo (2017); Meyer Riegger, Berlin (2015); Institute for Contemporary Arts, London (2014); MASP, Museum of Art São Paulo (2013). As part of recent group shows, he exhibited at Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover (2020); MO Museum, Vilnius (2019); Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin (2018); MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main (2018); Remai Modern, Sasktoon (2017); Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort (2016); SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe (2016); Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2016). He also exhibited on the occasion of the 22nd Sydney Biennial, Sydney (2020); the Prospect.4 Triennial, New Orleans (2017); the 56th Venice Biennale, at Latin American Pavilion, Venice (2015).