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Cildo Meireles, Desvio para o Vermelho: I. Impregnação (Red Shift: I. Impregnation), 1967–84, white room, red objects including carpet, furniture, electric appliances, ornaments, books, plants, liquids, paintings. Installation view, Tate Modern, London, 2008.

Cildo Meireles

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Cildo Meireles, Desvio para o Vermelho: I. Impregnação (Red Shift: I. Impregnation), 1967–84, white room, red objects including carpet, furniture, electric appliances, ornaments, books, plants, liquids, paintings. Installation view, Tate Modern, London, 2008.

IT IS NOT DIFFICULT to like Cildo Meireles’s work. It is, as he has said he wishes it to be, “instantly seductive”—intelligent as well as sensual, playful yet unsettling. And thanks to an excellent installation, this exhibition of the Brazilian artist’s work (organized by Guy Brett and Vicente Todolí) even managed to breathe life into Tate Modern’s often forlorn galleries, suddenly infusing them with a new, pulsating energy. A remarkable example of Meireles’s mathematics of seduction is the dramatically lit Mission/Missions (How to Build Cathedrals), 1987, which consists of two thousand bones hanging from the ceiling and connected by a thin column of eight hundred communion wafers to a shimmering carpet of coins. Referring to the Jesuit missions to convert indigenous tribes in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the work neatly encapsulates Latin America’s long and

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