João Paulo Leite
On October 1, 1908, the world would see the first Ford Motor Company release, the Ford T model. Endowed with several important technological innovations, it was a car that was easy to drive, had inexpensive maintenance and, above all, was affordable. Soon, the T model would become almost ubiquitous on the streets of the United States. Leading the company led by Henry Ford to reach hitherto unimaginable levels of production and sale. As a result, in order to increase efficiency and reduce production costs, in the year 1913, Ford introduced the use of moving conveyors on the premises of its factories, thus giving rise to the first assembly lines in history. Such an innovation, coupled with the emergence of scientific management methods such as Taylorism, marked a turning point not only in the history of the means of production, but in all modern labor and consumption logistics. It is only from Ford that we have come to know the rationalization, mechanization and division of labor as we know it today. It is his legacy that — through the use of standardization of machinery, equipment and, of course, products — would make possible the mass production of consumer goods.
The work of João Paulo Leite attents to these questions and makes them explicit, however, also approaches them through a problematic of the aesthetic-historical order. On the assembly line, the artist dissects not only the mismatch between subject, labor force and production within the capitalist factory, but also, by electing the cube figure as an object of production, ironizes the abstract rational artistic tradition of the modernist matrix . In this sense, Leite emphasizes the contradictions of the capitalist productive system by referring to formal abstractionism in terms of the Fordist production scheme, inasmuch as it can propose a symmetrical metaphorical assembly line, that is, in which the process of abstraction that converts the workers into simple workforce is reflected in the very formal abstraction of their products.
Watch a video of the artwork shot during the exhibition