Ariel Ferreira

Thus Far

Ariel Ferreira was born in Montes Claros/MG in 1982. As a child he always studied in public schools as his family moved to different cities in the interior of the State and later to Belo Horizonte.  In 2000, year he moved to the state capital, he starts studying at UFMG’s Fine Arts School. Majoring in drawing, his work increasingly turns to interventions and the public space. He has participated in several group exhibitions at Palácio das Artes, Sesiminas, Copasa Gallery, and UFOP. He did his Master’s Course (until 2009) on unfinished art projects, and his Doctorate (until 2015) on his own artistic work and references about Romanticism, both at UFMG’s Fine Arts School. He worked many times as an art educator in Belo Horizonte and, in 2016, at São Paulo’s Biennial. He participated in the Pampulha Art Grant (2008), Rumos itaú Cultural (2009) and JA.CA Praça 7 Art Residency (2014).


This project, called Thus Far, is divided into 4 steps. The first two ones are, at first, unknown to the public now visiting the exhibition; the other two haven’t been done yet.  First I collected earth and rocks from the State of Minas Gerais; then I prepared paints using this earth as pigment; third, I will paint the gallery walls as far as my body can reach; fourth, during the last week of the exhibition, I will repaint the walls with its original white color.

1- On short trips around cities in the surroundings of Belo Horizonte, I collected earth and rocks from which I extracted pigments in order to make paints. I collected earth from the dusty grounds and roadsides, pebbles from rivers and rocks from the ravines and hillside in Caeté, Santa Bárbara, (André do Mato Dentro Community), Nova Lima, Rio Acima, Brumadinho, Rola Moça Sierra, Moeda Sierra, Gandarela Sierra, from the extinct Feijão Creek and the threatened São João River.

2- I grinded, smashed, and sieved the collected materials, mixed them with acrylic resin and did tests (I did not mix the paints among them in order to keep the color quality later to be made into brushstrokes). These tests are glued onto a travel diary to which photographic registers are added. The travel diary, scanned in PDF, can be visualized and downloaded from the internet.

3- Bearing the prepared paints and brushes, for seven days in a row inside Memorial Vale’s Gallery 2, I will paint all the available walls, covering their surfaces as far as my body can reach standing on the floor. As a rule, I will not use sticks or poles for the brushes, neither stools nor ladders that may extend my reach to the walls. The limit of the painting corresponds to the stature of my body in the given space mediated by paint and brush.

I here define painting as the register of a performance that investigates the human scale. The performance procedure shall be determined by the four postures my body will adopt during the work in the gallery space, conditioning the brushstroke stripes to: a) crouching so as to paint from the baseboard until the height of my head at this position; b) standing with my back up straight, from the height of my arms until the height of my head (I am 1,72 meters tall); c) from approximately the height of the top of my head until the height of my hand when my arm is completely raised (around 2.14cm.); d) from the last register until the maximum height of my body on tiptoe, holding a brush of ordinary dimensions.

What is a human body capable of? Thus far nobody has been able to answer this question. The site-specific painting I have elaborated, thus far, intends to, through human dimensions (my own, in the case), produce something that may be felt as if it were produced by a scale larger than that of humans. Smaller than that of machines, of train tracks, of mountains and rivers that cease to exist overnight, which is true, but larger than that of a man like me, who is 1.72 cm. with my feet on the ground.  

4- During the last week of the exhibition I will erase all the work done inside Gallery 2. I will use white paint, rolls and paint sold in retail shops, to repaint the walls I had painted with earth color, and bring an end to the exhibition leaving the gallery exactly as I found it. During the painting process of the white cube, I will make myself available to talk and discuss with the public about the project Thus Far: its phases, its findings, its connections to other research works, its limits and contradictions, or the pure contemplation of the earth color palette of our region. I will also invite the public to join in the dismantling of the installation work. My work deserves to be criticized and I will be ready to listen to it while I work.

Ariel, Belo Horizonte, July 10th, 2019.



Map and captions 

of the works:

1) Chaos and Setback
Video Installation, 2019
projection in looping

2) Artificial Basin of Pampulha Lake
painting in gouache over photograph, 2008-14
216 x 118 cm

3) Untitled n.2 (belo horizonte is not here, over the old Bridge)
acrylic painting, urban intervention and photograph
printed registers, 14 x 20 cm each

4) The Frivolous
video work, 2007
5 min

5) Thus Far
performance and installation, 2019