Amerikkka, 1991

Basel 2017
Galerie Lelong & Co., Galeria Luisa Strina
painted wooden eggs and bullets
300.0 x 400.0 x 600.0 (cm)
118.1 x 157.5 x 236.2 (inch)
Cildo Meireles’s investigation of ideological, economic, and political systems through sculpture, installation, and sensorial experience forms the cornerstone of his practice and career, which spans some 40 years. His seminal work Amerikkka was conceived for a quincentennial exhibition on the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492. Transforming the space into a powerful, interactive experience, the work places viewers under a free-standing ceiling (angled at 45 degrees) that is composed of 40,000 hollow golden bullets set against an intense blue background. Viewers stand upon a base of over 20,000 white wooden eggs set into a red floor. In the opposition posed by the sharp bullets and fragile eggs, Amerikkka suggests an uncertain and unsettled environment and calls into question whether the work is opening or closing – threats real or perceived. The triple ‘k’ in the title alludes to the Ku Klux Klan, the far-right organization that espouses white supremacy and the use of extreme violence. With the work’s delicate balance combining sculpture, architecture, and installation, Amerikkka offers a synesthetic experience to its viewers.