Antonio Dias (b. 1944, Campina Grande, Brazil - d. 2018, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) began his career in the 1960s, producing works marked by political criticism in the form of paintings, drawings and assemblages typical of Brazilian Pop Art and Neo Figurativism, of which he was one the main representatives. His practice is interwoven by the legacy of the Neo-concrete movement and an early awareness of the revolutionary impetus of Tropicalia. In 1966, during his self-exile in Paris after subtle criticism from the Brazilian military dictators, the artist came into contact with artists of the Italian avant-garde movement Arte Povera, namely Luciano Fabro and Giulio Paolini. In the European context, he increasingly turns to abstraction, transforming his style.


In Italy, he adopted a conceptual approach to painting, filmmaking, audio-recordings and artist books to question the meaning of art. His playful and subversive approach towards eroticism, sex, and political oppression constructed a unique artistic production, filled with formal elegance transversed by political issues and a poignant critique towards the system of art. In the late 1970's, Dias went to Nepal to learn how to produce a special type of artisanal paper that he would use until the next decade. In the 1980s, his production once again focused on painting, experimenting with metallic and mineral pigments, such as gold, copper, iron oxide and graphite, mixing these with a variety of binding agents. Most works produced during this time have a metallic sheen and feature a vast array of symbols –bones, cross, rectangle, phallus–, an underlying correlation with the artist’s earlier production.


His works have been exhibited in several institutions all over the world. Recent solo exhibitions include: Antonio Dias: Derrotas e vitórias, at Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP) (2021), in São Paulo, Brazil; Antonio Dias: Ta Tze Bao, at Nara Roesler (2019), in New York, USA; Antonio Dias: o ilusionista, at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio) (2018), in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Una collezione, at Fondazione Marconi (2017), in Milan, Italy; Antonio Dias – Potência da pintura, at Fundação Iberê Camargo (FIC) (2014), in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Main group shows are: This Must Be the Place: Latin American Artists in New York, 1965–1975, at The Americas Society (2021), in New York, USA; Pop América, 1965–1975, at Mary & Leigh Block Museum at Northwestern University (2019), in Evanston, at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (2019), in Durham, and at McNay Art Museum (2018), in San Antonio, USA; Invenção de origem, at Estação Pinacoteca (2018), in São Paulo, SP, Brazil; 34th  and 33th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2018 and 2021); Mario Pedrosa – On the Affective Nature of Form, at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) (2017), in Madrid, Spain. Dias' works are in collections such as: Daros Latinamerica Collection, Zurich, Switzerland; Instituto Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil; Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP), São Paulo, Brazil; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, USA.




  • paulo sergio duarte in conversation Download

    paulo sergio duarte in conversation

    Fawz Kabra, Ocula 6.10.2018
  • remembering the fragile unity of brazilian artist antonio dias (1944–2018) Download

    remembering the fragile unity of brazilian artist antonio dias (1944–2018)

    Tiago Mesquita, Frieze 17.8.2018
  • antonio dias, brazilian artist who poked the ruling junta, is dead at 74 Download

    antonio dias, brazilian artist who poked the ruling junta, is dead at 74

    Jason Farago, The New York Times 9.8.2018
  • morre antonio dias, um mestre da arte visceral, erótica e política Download

    morre antonio dias, um mestre da arte visceral, erótica e política

    Sérgio Bruno Martins, Folha de São Paulo 2.8.2018

Critical Essays

  • tazibao and other works

    paulo sérgio duarte
    Every great work of art presents itself as a problem, not a solution. The work of Antonio Dias is no exception, and it has to be confronted. Confronted first, that is, as knowledge, neither religious nor scientific, but artistic. And that is precisely what contemporary art so often flees from today. Dias, on the other hand, faces it, wrangles with it, and stands before us, without any condescension. This exhibition, which opens in September 2018 at Galeria Nara Roesler, São Paulo, presents a brief sampling of Antonio Dias’ artistic production since 1968. His early works, from 1964 to 67, are therefore absent, having recently been seen in the exhibition Entre construção e apropriação – Antonio Dias, Geraldo de Barros e Rubens Gerchman nos anos 60 (Between Construction and Appropriation—Antonio Dias, Geraldo de Barros and Rubens Gerchman in the 1960s), curated by João Bandeira at SESC Pinheiros, also in São Paulo. Here, now, from Black Mirror (1968)and Arid (1969) down to recent works from 2013, the poetic potency and...