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ArtRio 2014

Alexandre Mazza, Se é pra Ser Amor que Marque a Alma, 2014, Monitor LED, videos, 191 x 124 cm. Courtesy Luciana Caravello Arte Contemporânea, Ipanema.

Though these three videos are sold separately, they work beautifully as a triptych: A boxer bleeds, grimaces, and sweats, while, opposite him, a serene ballerina gazes sadly out. In between, rain falls on a tree as it sways gently. The artist Alexandre Mazza explains the works are about love and relationships. "Our generation, we always give up relationships and start again," he says. "The ballerina and the boxer are about this. The tree can't leave the situation–when you suffer you can't move." The artist is currently planning a show at Mana Conemporary in New Jersey.

Pedro Victor Brandão and Maíra das Neves, Giant Miner (financial sculpture) one edition, 2014.
Courtesy the artists and Portas Vilaseca Galeria.

The artists Pedro Victor Brandão and Maíra das Neves invented a computer to generate bitcoins, which they will theoretically use to fund art projects–the visual proposals of which hang on the surrounding wall. In action, lines of code scuttle down the screen, ending with "(yay!!!)" every time a new bitcoin is generated. It's not a get-rich-quick scheme: Brandão estimates they only generate about $6.50 per day. Rather, the pair intends to comment on art funding.

Mauricio Ianês, The Writer NY (performance memorabilia), 2013, ink and 68 sheets of 12.5 x 9 inch paper. Courtesy Y Gallery, New York.

To make this series of seemingly innocuous word paintings, Brazilian artist Mauricio Ianês used an unconventional tool: At New York's Y Gallery last year, the artist staged a performance where audience members would call out words in English, and Ianês would write them in Portuguese on the paper, with his tongue. We asked the gallerist if the ink was safe to ingest; he laughed nervously and did not answer.

Nazareth Pacheco, Swing. On view at Murilo Castro, Brazil.

Brazilian artist Nazareth Pacheco picks otherwise pleasant or seductive objects, like a bra, beads, or this swing, and makes them violent. Here, the seat is covered in needles. She's also filled champagne glasses with blood and strung razor blades together with costume jewelry.

Michael Staniak, DATA_980 (893GB), 2014 DVDRs and resin on canvas with steel frame 63 x 48 inches. Courtesy Steve Turner Contemporary, Los Angeles.

Australian artist Michael Staniak made this canvas, which twinkles in the light, with crunched-up DVDs. Others in the series are made from CDs, which take on a blue hue.

Luiz Philippe, Untitled, 2004. © Luiz Philipp. Courtesy Galeria Marcia Barrozo do Amaral, Rio de Janeiro.

Created by Brazilian artist Luiz Philippe, this chair is anthropomorphized as it crosses its legs in a familiar, even pronouncedly feminine, manner. It's also a fun play on words for extremities–both human and furniture–and it's actually usable.

Henrique Oliveira, Meiose, 2014, wood. Courtesy Galeria Millan, São Paulo.

Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira uses low-grade plywood, used in Brazil for cheap large-scale items like street barricades, to build marvelous, bulbous shapes spurting from surfaces or as standalone sculptures. After wear and tear, the wood Oliveira recovers can be peeled apart and easily reshaped. In English, this Oliveira-fied desk is titled Meiosis, a term for cell division. Other installation works have filled entire atrium-sized exhibition spaces.

Nelson Felix, Para Moura e Ornette, 2013, marble, brass and saxophone, 400 x 50 x 70 cm. Courtesy Galeria de Arte Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian artist Nelson Felix is famous for large-scale sculptures which explore and contrast geometry in natural and man-made objects. Here, a saxophone rests between two marble towers, supported by two chairs.

Installation view. Homage to Marta Minujin, Arte Agricola en Accion, performed at MAC (Museo Arte Contemporaneo), São Paulo, 1977, 15 photographs, photographs, 2 sketches, texts, documentation and fresh cabbages. Courtesy Henrique Farla Fine Art, New York.

For their booth's installation, Henrique Farla Fine Art devised a homage to Marta Minujin's 1977 performance, in which she transported 2,500 cabbages to a São Paulo museum. In English, the piece was called Agriculture Art in Action. When it was over, she signed each one, and gave it to a visitor "as a work of ephemeral art," explained gallerist Mauro Heritzka.

Vik Muniz, Postcards from Nowhere: Cable Car, 2014, c-print digital, 180 x 290 cm. Courtesy Nara Roesler, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Vik Muniz is one of the more prominent artists to come out of Brazil in the last century. To make this image of a landscape and cable car, Muniz collaged old postcards together, effectively creating a single scene within which lies many memories, photos, times, and places. It's one of his "Postcards from Nowhere" series, on view at the newly opened Nara Roesler Rio de Janeiro. Though the final works are flat digital reproductions of the original collages, they appear to have texture and depth.