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Zero cruzeiro

1974-1978
20th century
7.1 cm x 15.5 cm (2 13/16 in. x 6 1/8 in.)

Cildo Meireles (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1948 - ) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Latin America, Brazilian
Medium and Support: Offset lithograph
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Paulo Figueiredo, 1982
Accession Number: 1982.180.1/2

Cildo Meireles used preexisting systems of circulation to question symbols of national identity and disseminate subversive messages while evading censorship. In this work, he printed his own “worthless” money by using the same language and general style as regular currency. By stripping away the bill’s exchange value, he revealed its symbolic value. For “Zero cruzeiro,” Meireles substituted national heroes with an Indigenous person from the Krahô tribe on one side and a mental patient on the other. According to the artist, the figures represent marginalized groups “to whom society seems to attribute no value.”

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