With the outbreak of SARS in 2003, I started exploring the theme of contagion artistically, linking mosaic art with viruses. Global contamination is a concern that has become poignant once again, with the recent outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan [武汉], China.

Cheap Import
Cheap Import (2003) by Marcelo de Melo

Cheap Import (2003), was the first work that I produced having contagion in mind. It explored the idea of economic globalization and the rapid spread of diseases, paralleling the availability of cheap imported goods with the outbreak of SARS and its global pandemic potential.

Cheap Import is a seminal work for me, initiating an unprecedent research into mosaic art and practice. It served as the starting point for an exploration of the themes of biochemical and memetic contamination that culminated with my first individual exhibition in Brazil (2014). My solo show Infectious Narratives was hosted by the Art Gallery of the Fluminense Federal University in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro. The exhibition evidenced the double meaning of the word culture: microbial or viral and culture as a human activity. As with all pandemic scares, the presence of masks created an atmosphere of discomfort among the visitors, and added a pinch of humour and dissent.

In 2016, the exhibition travelled to the museum Guido Viaro in Curitiba, when the Zika virus was wreaking havoc in the country, becoming an international concern.


Contamination Trays
Visitation Masks
Ai ai ui ui, selfie with mask
Ai ai ui ui, selfie with mask (2014), M de Melo
Mosaic Cultures
Mosaic Cultures (2014) by Marcelo de Melo
Mosaic Cultures II
Mosaic Cultures II (2016) by Marcelo de Melo
Mosaic Cultures (Chinese variations), 2020
Mosaic Cultures, Chinese strains (2020) by Marcelo de Melo

Related blog posts: Aedes Aegypti | Viral

Catalogue: Infectious Narratives

Coronavirus | Zika virus | SARS | Memetics | Wuhan


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