Collection

    Marcos Coelho Benjamim (1952 - )

    BIOGRAPHY

    Marcos Coelho Benjamim’s father was a frame-maker, and thus the artist learnt how to construct forms from wood and nails at a young ago. A self-taught artist, he began to work as a cartoonist and designer in 1969, when he moved from his home town of Nanuque in Minas Gerais to the state’s largest city, Belo Horizonte. From the early seventies his cartoons were published in magazines and newspapers; he co-authored the comic publications Meia Sola, Humor Daz, Uai, O Novo Humor do Pasquim and Antologia Brasileira do Humor and participated in successive collective exhibitions of comic drawing between 1972 and 1981, receiving several national and international prizes for his work. He met the artists Lotus Lobo and Décio Noviello via his friendship with Manfredo de Souzanetto; a painter (also from Minas Gerais), de Souzanetto introduced him to Gilberto Chateaubriand, a noted Brazilian collector who subsequently who purchased around sixty examples of Coelho Benjamims comic drawings.

    Coelho Benjamim produced his first sculptural work in 1976, and in the following year was awarded a major prize at the International Cartoon Exhibition in Athens. This prize allowed him the financial freedom to return to his home city, and here he spent a year making toys for his children, and ‘bichos’ (traditional popular models of animals) from recycled and organic materials. In 1979 he took part in a journey to the Vale do Jequitinhonha, with a group of artists, poets, musicians, painters and filmmakers.

    During the eighties he dedicated the majority of his time to producing objects and installations, while continuing to produce cartoons and illustrations for Thomas de La Rue and for the publishing house Editora Civilização. In 1983 he published, with Priscila Freire, a book of image-poems entiled Conversa de Corpo, in Belo Horizonte; and in 1988 he set up a studio with Patrícia Leite, Humberto Guimarães and Isaura Pena, producing scenery for the theatrical productions Uakti and Mulheres. At the start of the 1990s, Coelho Benjamim began to produce works in very large dimensions; these objects are often delicately formed into circular or rectangular shapes using a series of thin strips of wood, or soft metals such as zinc, mounted on to a wooden support.

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