Maria Thereza Alves was born in 1961 in São Paulo (Brazil). She lives and works in Europe.
Alves has worked and exhibited internationally since the 1980s, creating a body of works which investigate the histories and circumstances of particular localities to keep track of silent histories. Her projects are research-based and develop out of her interaction with the physical and social environments of the places where she dwells or visits for exhibitions and residencies. These projects begin in response to local needs and proceed through a process of dialogue, often guided, between material and environmental realities and social circumstances. Alves’ work is characterized by a strong political and social critique that highlights the moral and ethical commitment that the artist demonstrates towards the world in which she lives. Politics and poetry have been interwoven in Maria Thereza Alves’ career from a very young age. In terms of her chosen media, Alves’s work is radically interdisciplinary, conceptual and formalist. While aware of Western combinations between nature and culture, art and politics, or art and daily life, she deliberately refuses to acknowledge them in her practice. She chooses instead to create spaces of representation and visibility for oppressed cultures through relational practices of collaboration that require constant movement across all of these boundaries. The final formal result of her work is always dictated by its content. The artist firmly believes that art is where there is the possibility of contradicting the common trend, according to which the categories of knowledge prevent knowledge itself from developing. And this might happen simply because at this moment in history, art can be anything and therefore not have categories.