Viewing Room Main Site
Skip to content
Cildo Meireles

[Installation detail] - Sermon on the Mount: Fiat Lux (1974 - 1979)
Area of approximately 60m², surrounded by eight mirrors of 1.60 m by 1.20 m, on which surfaces were written eight beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 3-10). In the center of this area, stacked, 126 thousand boxes of matches. The floor was covered with black sandpaper. The sound of the friction of the feet on the sandpaper was recorded and amplified. Four actors also participated in the work.

Work Statement

Sermão da Montanha: Fiat Lux (The Sermon on the Mount: Fiat Lux) (1973–79) was a performance piece that occured in a mirrored room with 126,000 Fiat Lux–brand matchboxes over a floor covered in black sand paper. The matchboxes were surrounded by security guards for 24 hours while visitors were permitted to enter.

The work was created during Brazil’s twenty-one year miltary dictatorship, at a stage where the oppressive conditions had been endured for some time and engineers an experience of uncertainty as a response to the lived conditions in Brazil at that time. By bringing the absurd to life - a room stacked with thousands of matches upon a large surface to light them - it bridges the gap between real and fictional in a scenario of impending tension, anxiety, and possibility.

Back To Top