• fr
  • en

Le petit musée de la consommation

This video action illustrates a 1973 action during the XII Bienal de Sao Paulo. The idea behind the replica was to use video to investigate the sociology of rue Augusta in the same way as Fred Forest did rue Guénégaud in Paris.


São Paulo (BR)

Theme: Ubiquité

Typology: Installation

Medium and media: Vidéo

#Espace-temps  #Urbain 


Rua Augusta Sao Paulo Galeria Portal de Malvina

Le petit musée de la consommation

This video action illustrates a 1973 action during the XII Bienal de Sao Paulo. The idea was to carry out a sociological investigation of Augusta Street through video, as he had done in Guénégaud Street in Paris. At the time, rue Augusta was one of the busiest shopping streets in Sao Paulo. Luxury shops, clothing stores, fashionable restaurants. It was a very active social area where young people would meet up, driving up and down the street in their cars. Hailing each other as they pass from one car to the next for hypothetical meetings. Internet and mobile phones didn't exist at the time... On the other hand, the rua Augusta, which slopes gently down towards its lower end, caught Fred Forest's eye. In the upper part of the street there is a gallery run by a young woman called Malvina, whose husband, the director of Ford Brasil, regularly attends classes at the Faculty of Medicine, sitting shoulder to shoulder with young students.
Given the topographical location of the Galerie d'art de Malvina, with its gently sloping view along the entire length of the street, Fred Forest saw an opportunity to create an installation similar to the one he had just produced in Paris at the Galerie Germain under the name of the electronic autopsy of the rue Guénégaud. A Philips closed-circuit camera was attached to the electricity pole on the pavement in front of the Galerie. This camera transmits its image along the entire length of rue Augusta onto a wall screen made up of around fifteen Colorado television sets inside Malvina's gallery.
In the days leading up to the exhibition, Forest had been walking down Rue Augusta, collecting objects from various shopkeepers. (Various trinkets, medicine boxes, sports caps, tins from the grocers, cookery books, curtain poles, bottles of Batida de coco, etc.) He organised everything by meticulously referencing all these heterogeneous objects in display cases to showcase his little museum of consumption.
With this synthetic installation, he carried out a video investigation of the space at a distance from the street, with the objects in front of the visitors offering a perfect sociological approach to Augusta Street in 1973 in Sao Paulo! The abundant Brazilian press confirmed this significant success of sociological art a year before the creation of the Collectif...

Fred Forest's exceptional success at the 12th Sao Paulo Biennial led to an influx of gallery requests. He chose one on rue Augusta because of its location at the very top, which, thanks to a closed-circuit TV installation, would give him a bird's-eye view of the entire length of the building. But at the time, the galleries, which mainly exhibited paintings, were unable to obtain the technical resources needed to create such an installation. The artist, with his usual energy, took on the task alone. He hailed a taxi and travelled to the suburbs of Sao Paulo, where the factories of COLORADO, Brazil's leading television manufacturer at the time, were located. With a few recent press articles in front of the reception desk, he was received without an appointment by the Director, to whom he explained his project, which required around twenty monitors. He left with his request fulfilled. He now had to find an external camera powerful enough to power the wall of screens he planned to install in the gallery. This camera was a very rare item at the time, and his investigations led him to learn that there were only three of them in Brazil, all owned by Philips. Shortly afterwards, the Director of Philips Brasil met him and agreed to let him use the camera for three weeks. The deal was done, the artist managed the communication with the help of the gallery owner, Malvina, and everything was ready for another success four days earlier. But then a message from Philips reached the gallery to say that, contrary to its commitments, the camera in question could not be made available as it had to leave for the north of Brazil to satisfy a very important contract in progress... Malvina broke down in tears while the artist, unperturbed, took a taxi straight away to the Philips head office. Luckily, the Managing Director, who travels a lot, was in the office that day. No doubt anxious to apologise, he received the artist.

Since both he and his boss only speak their own language, his secretary acts as a... rough interpreter. From the outset Forest asks the hesitant secretary to repeat the simple words he says to his boss, looking him straight in the eye as he apologises profusely.

  • Forest : Dear Sir, you are going to put your camera at my disposal ...
  • Le directeur de Philips : No, that's not possible because this camera has to go to Fortaleza for a very important market for us ...
  • Forest : Like a broken record starting to play again: I'm going to explain to you why, Mr Director, you're going to make this famous camera available to us ...
  • Le directeur speechless...
  • Forest : You can lend it to me, because we're not going to cancel anything, and on the day of the opening the many journalists who come will see a banner at the entrance which reads: Philips Brasil has been unable to provide video technology for this exhibition.

The exhibition opened on the day scheduled, with the camera and the expected success for Philips Brasil. 😊


A variation on the installation at the Galerie Germain in Paris. In real time, the activity of the Rue Augusta, an extremely busy shopping street, is projected continuously onto a wall screen with 40 monitors. The windows display various items and objects that have been collected from the shops on either side of the street. In their display cases, the objects are referenced and dated (accompanied by somewhat ironic explanatory notes) in the same way as items displayed in museums.


  • 40 televisions Colorado,
  • 1 Philips camera, installed outside, taking in the street,
  • 7 showcases displaying objects borrowed from shopkeepers on rue Augusta.
  • " O pequenio museum de Fred Forest ",  Fohla de São Paulo, 14 décembre 1973
  • " Na portal a arqueologia da rua Augusta ", Fohla da tarde, 10 décembre 1973
  • " Hoja, uma Autopsia ", Ultima Hora Sao-Paulo, 10 décembre 1973
  • " Autopsia da rua Augusta, bistouri na TV " , Vega, N° 276, décembre 1973.
1973 Le petit musée de la consommation
1973 Le petit musée de la consommation


1973 Le petit musée de la consommation
1973 Le petit musée de la consommation


1973 Gazzeta Mercan Augusta
1973 Gazzeta Mercan Augusta


1973 Mercantil Portal
1973 Mercantil Portal


1973 Press Paulo Augusta 10 dec 73
1973 Press Paulo Augusta 10 dec 73




  • https://www.artpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/3019.pdf


Fred Forest has a special place in contemporary art. Both by his personality and by his pioneering practices which mark his work. He is mainly known today for having used one by one most of the communication media that have appeared over the last fifty years. He is co-founder of three artistic movements: those of sociological art, the aesthetics of communication and ethics in art.

He represented France at the 12th São Paulo Biennale (Communication Prize) in 1973, at the 37th Venice Biennale in 1976 and at Documenta 6 in Kassel in 1977.