São Gonçalo do Sapucaí, MG, 1929; vive em Belo Horizonte
Invited to organize the 1970 Salão de Ouro Preto, critic and curator Frederico Morais proposed the holding of the show Objeto e participação [Object and Participation] in the galleries of the Palácio das Artes, along with a manifestation entitled “Do corpo à terra” [From the Body to the Earth], which took place at the Municipal Park of Belo Horizonte, during the week commemorating the Inconfidência Mineira, a regional seditious movement in the late 18th century. Morais established some criteria for the manifestation, including that the works should be conceived especially for that place and moment. They were to be shown in the park, and the vestiges of the actions would be left at the site until naturally destroyed. The works were to take place at different times and places, in such a way that no one could observe the manifestation in its entirety. The participating artists included Décio Noviello, who responded to Morais’s criteria with the proposal Ação no Parque Municipal [Action in the Municipal Park]. The work consisted of the release of smoke in various colors, at points scattered through the park, using signal flares and discussing the use of color in space.
At that time, Décio Noviello was developing a production centered on painting, strongly influenced by the pop movement. He was interested in studies on color and resorted to a wide range of materials and techniques to produce object-paintings that questioned not only the limits of that support, but also his own identity and the genders. Besides being an artist, Noviello was an Army officer, and as a lieutenant colonel he had access to the Technical Manual of Chemical Munitions published by the Ministry of War, in 1955, which served as the basis for the happening he made for “Do corpo à terra.” By employing military devices, whose use was also reported in Vietnam, Noviello not only expanded the possibilities of painting, but also transgressed the military practices by using them with playful, artistic and political aims.