Alice Miceli

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Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 1980. – Vive e trabalha no Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Represented by Galeria Nara Roesler.
PIPA 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 Nominee.
Winner of PIPA and PIPA Popular Vote 2014.
Nominating Committee member PIPA 2015 e 2017.

Alice Miceli is a Brazilian artist, born and raised in Rio de Janeiro. Her exhibition record includes the Sao Paulo Biennale, Nara Roesler Gallery, Sao Paulo, and Max Protetch Gallery, New York. Her work has been shown in venues such as the Japan Media Arts Festival, in Tokyo, the TRANSITIO_MX festival, in Mexico City, the Transmediale festival, in Berlin, and Documenta XII, in Kassel. Residency awards include the MacDowell Colony, Bogliasco, Bemis, Djerassi and the Dora Maar House. An extended conversation with the artist has been published by the Skull Sessions, in New York. Alice is the recipient of the 2014 PIPA Prize, Rio de Janeiro, and the 2015 Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation Grants & Commissions Award, Miami.

Alice Miceli applies formal experimentation, investigative travel, and archival research to chart the visual, physical, and cultural manifestations of trauma inflicted on social and natural landscapes. In the Chernobyl Project, she documented the exclusion zone around the site of Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster using specially developed photographic processes. Her current research focuses on photographic representations of landscape, looking in particular into the space of land-mine fields.

Miceli has had solo shows at Nara Roesler Gallery, in São Paulo, and Max Protetch Gallery, in New York. Her work has been shown at festivals and institutions around the world, including the Sao Paulo Biennale, the Tomie Ohtake Institute, in Brazil, the Japan Media Arts Festival, in Japan, the Transitio_MX Festival, in Mexico, the Mediations Biennial, in Poland, the Sydney Film Festival, in Australia, the Z33 Contemporary Art Space, in Belgium, the Transmediale festival and the ZKM, in Germany, and the New York International Independent Film Festival and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, in the US, among others.

Fellowships and residency awards include the Brown Foundation Program at Dora Maar House, in France, the Bogliasco Foundation Program at the Liguria Study Center, in Italy, the Sacatar Institute, in Brazil, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the MacDowell Colony, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and the Camera Club of New York, in the US. Miceli received awards from the Videobrasil Festival and the Sergio Motta Institute, in São Paulo, and was nominated for the Transmediale Award, in Berlin.

Note on the artist’s works in the collection: In 2014, Alice Miceli was chosen by the Prize Jury as the winner of PIPA Prize and was also the most voted artist in the Finalists’ exhibition at MAM-Rio, being the winner of the PIPA Prize Popular Vote Exhibition. She presented the “Minefields – Cambodia” series at the show, a work that she donated to the Institute at the time. In early 2018, the Institute approached Alice and Nara Roesler Gallery to acquire more works by the artist. At that time she was programming the fourth chapter of the “Minefields – Angola” series. The Institute decided to purchase the other sets of photos in the series, Colombia and Bosnia, and commission the Angola project.

From May to July, 2019, PIPA Institute organized a solo show by Alice Miceli, “In Depth: Minefields”, at Villa Aymoré, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, presenting the complete series of the collection.

From May to June, 2022, the Escola das Artes in Porto, Portugal, presents the solo show “In Depth (Minefields): Angola and Bosnia” by Alice Miceli, curated by Luiz Camillo Osorio, PIPA Institute’s curator. Both series on display are part of PIPA Institute’s collection.

Closer to PIPA: the artist speaks in the Institute’s collection

Series: “Campos Minados – Angola”

“The work process in Chernobyl made me consider landscape representation issues. Specifically concerning a landscape that, in this case, was altered in a fundamental but invisible way; a landscape that is empty, but at the same time full of an invisible energy: radiation that is all around the space, but which doesn’t show itself to our eyes, except through the destruction traces that it leaves behind and through the “negative” space that ends up occupying in a permanent way, because, for intents and purposes, taking in consideration the human temporality, the duration of the radioactive contamination is eternal. After I finished the Chernobyl project, I realized that I wanted to take this matter forward and to think about what other inaccessible spaces are in the world, and what other representation issues they could raise. The next step, it occurred to me, would be to look at sites taken over by mines and by other explosives remnants of wars. 

Even though these sites, such as Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone and the minefields in multiple parts of the world, are the result of traumatic events like wars, conflicts and disasters and are historically located in time with a fixed date, they are not limited, however, to the past. They endure, extending themselves to the present time, provided that Chernobyl is still taken by invisible gamma radiation to this day, and will continue to be for centuries; and Angola, Colombia, Cambodia and Bosnia also remain with their environments taken up by explosives even decades after the end of the conflicts that are responsible for this situation. They are, in this way, occupations that remain contemporary to our current existence on the planet. 

One of the places with the worst “contamination” by land mine scenarios continues to be, nowadays, Angola. During the independence war against Portugal, which ended in 1975, this kind of explosives was used, and then, during the twenty years of civil war that followed the independence, it was used as well, extensively, resulting in the biggest density of explosives per square meter on the planet. In Angola, in certain regions, there are more mines than people. 

In this situation, inside the space of a minefield, position is the most critical element: the difference between one step and the other could be the difference between life and death. A position that, in photography, articulates what is seen and from where, from which and from how many centimeters of ground there are bellow our feet. Thus, the poetic operation happens exactly in the activation of these elements both in relation to my role of deciding to access and to create viewpoints in this taken up space – where, in theory, no one should set foot anymore –, as well as in the consequence of this action to the photographic image, of what this image shows to us in the tension between these two poles”. – Alice Miceli





Critical Texts


To learn more about Alice Miceli, please visit her full profile on the PIPA Prize website.