Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR)

Presentation of the exhibition "Ao amor do público" - 3-7/2016


Infinite mathematics

Contested by thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle, the concept of infinity took a while to be
accepted as real, or even intelligible. Only at the end of the 19th century, the Russian
mathematician Georg Cantor developed his set theory and, starting from this, managed to
define and rationalise the idea of infinity. He created the Aleph ( ), the transfinite number
that symbolises, with one digit, the infinite natural numbers. He proved that there doesn’t
exist just one infinity, but there are different types of infinity: large infinities, of whole
numbers; and unlimited small infinities of, for example, two numbers in a straight line that
when divided produce new numbers, that in turn produce other numbers and that, in these
endless divisions, constitute fractional infinity.

The question of infinity expanded, however, much further than the field of mathematics. Its
representation, for example, the lemniscata – known popularly as the “horizontal eight” – is a
symbol that goes crosses the most diverse cultures. As one of the aspects of the experience
of infinity, its representation finds a place in several works in the significant nucleus that
MAR dedicates to infinity, as can be seen in the works by Tunga, Cláudio Paiva, Gauthier
and Detanico & Lain that are presented here. The lemniscata goes beyond the
infinity of numbers, also symbolising eternity, the sacred, the balance, a continuation
without beginning and without end; a simple shape that contains within it the possibility of
timeless time, in which past and future are mixed; existing only an endless now, the eternal
present. Collecting infinity is one of the most exciting challenges for the Museu de Arte do
Rio – MAR.

Marcio Turano Torres



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