Melanie Smith, Fordlândia, 2014
Melanie Smith, Fordlândia, 2014 (detail), courtesy of the artist

Video room: Melanie Smith Melanie Smith

ven 1 Juil 2022, 10:00

São Paulo
MASP - AV Paulista, 1578
São Paulo-SP

Comment s'y rendre ?



Fordlandia’ features images of the district of the same name in

addition to Henry Ford's 1927 proposal 


From July 1 to August 14, 2022  


The Brazilian Ministry of Tourism and MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, present, from July 1 to August 14, 2022, the exhibition Video Room: Melanie Smith, on the 2nd lower ground floor. Curated by Leandro Muniz, MASP Assistant Curator, the exhibition shows Fordlandia (2014), a video showing fragments of the industrial and natural landscape that surround the district of the same name, located on the banks of the Tapajós River in the state of Pará. The exhibition is part of MASP’s Video Room program, offering a deeper examination of audio-visual art practices. 


Melanie Smith (Poole, UK, 1965) lives and works between Mexico City and London. Her works, using different media, reflect on the history of painting and its relationship with moving image. Her early works illustrate the behavioral trends of crowds in urban environments, whilst her more current pieces extend to an examination of modernization processes in Latin America. The artist draws on fragmented editing techniques to create film and performative experiences that often allude to what happens backstage. 


Fordlandia shows the interaction between nature and the urban landscape, and the ways of life that have emerged over time. Fordlandia was designed in 1927 by Henry Ford (1863-1947) – a pioneer of the automobile industry – as a site to house a rubber plant. Working rules were strict, the workers were supervised by foremen, start and finish times were controlled by clocks and sirens, and the food offered was based on American standards, such as hamburgers. These forms of control led to a rebellion in 1930, which was brutally repressed by the Brazilian Army. 


In the 1940s, the rubber trees, which were planted too close together, were attacked by an infestation. In any case, at that time it was already possible to produce synthetic latex in a more profitable way, which led to the closure of the factory in 1945. The workers remained in the district and began to work on agriculture and cattle rearing. 


In the film, Melanie Smith depicts the everyday life of the inhabitants of Fordlandia using free associations and non-synchronized image and sound; her scenes draw on forms, textures and colors to create a non-linear narrative. According to curator Leandro Muniz, the video “far from being a denunciation of the perils of modernization, shows the modes of sociability that emerged in the town, beyond its creator’s attempts at control in the 20th century”. 




Melanie Smith was born in Poole in the UK in 1965. She lives and works between Mexico City and London. In 2011, the artist participated in the 54th Venice Biennial, representing Mexico. Her solo exhibitions include Melanie Smith: Farce and Artifice, MACBA Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain, 2018; Fordlandia, LULU, Mexico City, 2015; Melanie Smith, Maps, mud and mundo(s), Galería Proyecto Paralelo, Mexico City, 2015; and Melanie Smith. Crocodiles and Elevators, CCA Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2014. Her works belong to institutional collections such as Museo Amparo, Puebla, Mexico; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, León, Spain; Museum of Modern Art, New York, US; and Tate Modern, London, England.




Curated by Leandro Muniz

2nd Lower Ground

Duration: 07.01 — 08.14.22

MASP — Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand

Avenida Paulista, 1578 - Bela Vista

01310-200 São Paulo, SP

Phone: (11) 3149-5959


Opening times: Free Tuesdays, from 10am to 8pm (last entry 7pm); from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am to 6pm (last entry 5pm); closed on Mondays. Free entry every first Wednesday of the month – offered by B3. 


Booking online required:

Tickets: R$ 50 (full); R$ 25 (concession)