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Bauro, SP - 1989

Lives and works in São Paulo, SP

Marcos Roberto was born in Bauru and moved to São Paulo at the age of 23 to study Visual Arts at the Faculdade Paulista de Artes. Due to socioeconomic issues, he had to return to the countryside and work as a laborer in a traffic sign factory - which would become one of his main supports for painting.

Today he dedicates himself exclusively to his production in contemporary art, appropriating the materials he used as a worker, such as screws and discarded traffic signs. Self-declared “activist and anti-racist artist”, he has an explicit political and social criticism in his works. His art bothers, provokes and instigates through reflection on the ills of society and the search for the visibility of minorities.


With a plural production, Marcos uses these signs and portrays scenes of miserable daily life in the country, aiming to draw people's attention to social inequality, of which he was also a part at some point.




IIn this series Marcos Roberto presents us with times of redemption, a reconstruction of colonial Brazil to try to account for the lives made invisible by an unequal society and past.

“In Brazil, the future is doubtful and the past is uncertain, so much so that even the authorship of this phrase is doubtful, I couldn't find anyone to attribute it to. I have the thesis that we need to retell the history of Brazil, of those erased, forgotten or neglected over time. We need to rescue their stories and recognize their contributions to building a more inclusive and accurate narrative about our nation. The official history of Brazil is told through the perspective of the powerful, political leaders and ruling elites. This focus tends to glorify figures such as “rulers” and “conquerors”, leaving aside the richness and complexity of the experiences of ordinary people", says Marcos Roberto.



Inspired by the lyrics of Geraldo Vandré’s songs and the Carnation Revolution (1974) in Portugal - a movement that initiated the transition to the implementation of a democratic regime in the country -, this series portrays the Brazilian people as holders of the power - powerfull, delicate and, above all, unavoidable as the spring.In the artist's words:"Manifestation of the flowers. Geraldo Vandré once sang: ‘They still make the flower their strongest refrain. And they believe in the flowers beating the cannon’.We need to build a model of a future Brazil, preventing the future from being anything like the past.Democracy needs to blossom with the idea of total revolution, in a utopic project, where the future won't be built on the past. The people are the pillar where Brazil stands.The people command. The people in power, with the force of the spring that will never refrain from blooming."


In the Cotidiano series, traffic signs are structured on the same principle. The bodies we see seem to float, contrasting with the surface of the plates and their direct orientations, emphasizing the lonely atmosphere. It is possible to notice that the permitted mileage indications always refer to low speeds: 10km, 20km, 30km, or even STOP. During the period he moved to São Paulo to study art, Marcos lived in the city center and walked a lot around the area.

There, in addition to the memories of these bodies and scenes, there was also the perception that the traffic signs always brought indications of low speeds for the circulation of cars. This indication of deceleration, if thought for our bodies, among other possibilities, is almost like a reminder to look around and see what the speed of the urban flow ends up making invisible. 

In more recent works in the Cotidiano series, other bodies begin to populate these signs – not only circular, but also rectangular, originally indicating paths and directions through the city's streets. They no longer present themselves so vulnerable, to assume a position of resistance and strength, looking the spectators straight in the eyes.
Different from what we see in Tarsila do Amaral's Operários (1933) (a reference for these works) there is an active attitude in these figures, with a demand for collective presence and visibility, with men and women placed side by side. Mixed but individualized.