This is the introductory essay to Identidade do artista, an exhibition devoted to the work of Ângelo de Aquino. It was circulated as a collection of sheets of paper stapled together, including reproductions of two copies of the artist’s identification forms. The first was produced by Ângelo de Aquino (b. 1945); the Bulgarian-North American artist Christo (b. 1935) produced the second.
Ângelo de Aquino emerged in Brazilian art circles at the time of the exhibitions Opinião 65, Opinião 66, and Nova Objetividade Brasileira (1967). The Aquino exhibition, presented from June 27 to July 10, 1977, at the Escola de Artes Visuais del Parque Lage, in Rio de Janeiro, consisted of the presentation of the forms that he had created and sent to artists in various parts of the world, some of which were correctly answered and sent back by return mail. It was an important example of Mail Art in Brazil that addressed subjects such as the artist’s status and the creative idea. The project envisioned a book of the same title. The project enjoyed the support of artists in various parts of the planet, including Christo, Luis Alphonsus, Miguel Rio Branco, Julio Plaza, Artur Barrio, Milton Machado, Guilherme Vaz, Ilya Kabakov, Dick Higgins, Waltércio Caldas, Roberto Magalhães, Jorge Glusberg, Rubens Gerchman, Adriano de Aquino, and Cildo Meireles. At that time, Aquino’s work explored conceptual parameters, as was amply demonstrated by his exhibition at the MAC-USP (Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo) during the same year in which he had a solo painting exhibition at the Museu de Arte da Bahia.
Francisco Bittencourt was a particularly thoughtful and active critic in the Rio de Janeiro art scene in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This article can be viewed as a secondary source; it is of interest because it reactivated the critical debate that raged during that decisive time about the relationship between art and technology, a subject that is now of fundamental importance for those who seek a broader understanding of the recent history of Brazilian art.