Some of the sculptures that can be found in Inhotim
Bernardo Paz has been described as eccentric for his decision to create a huge contemporary art collection spread across his 250 acre land - but he certainly doesn't like to be called so.
"It's really annoying to have to answer this kind of question. So, if what I do is eccentric, what would you call only accumulating billions and billions, as other people do?" Paz said
Situated 60km from the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, Paz’s art display is known as Inhotim, and has welcomed artists looking to experiment on a very large scale.
"We are quite privileged to work in a rather large area, so we can invite artists to come and wander with us around the hills, forests and lakes on Inhotim to find the perfect spot for their work," artistic director Jochen Volz said
Over the last year, more than 300,000 travelled to visit the collection at Inhotim, although a day trip may not be quite enough to enjoy the magnitude of the park. For those unable to walk, electric golf carts are available, although it is generally consented that the best way to explore the garden is by foot.
One by one, the massive open air artworks begin to reveal themselves to visitors as they venture further through the garden. The garden’s best-known work, Doug Aitken’s Sonic Pavilion is situated on the highest spot of the grounds, and is built in with five microphones which continuously capture "the sounds of the earth."
"It's a weird sound: some days it sounds more violent and then other days it's mellow, or rhythmic, or monotone. And we don't really know where it comes from," Volz said
Whether you consider it eccentric or not, Paz has invested more than $60m a year into the project. 70% of the garden’s funding comes from Paz’s own pocket, while the rest is divided up between sponsors and the money that is gathered by the entrance fees, which are $20 for a day pass. Above all else, Paz hopes that the project will stick around for the long-run.
"We need to think of an infrastructure that will allow people to stay here for longer and at the same time will generate funds for Inhotim. We already have restaurants in the park. Now we are already building our first hotel, and we have plans for shops in the future," he said
There are concerns that the garden could potentially become too commercial, but Volz is quick to dismiss these fears.
"Of course there are risks in growth, but we are careful about this. And we can also count on the help of the artists themselves to help us to discover how to develop Inhotim without losing what it is today," he said
Although Paz admits he doesn’t know much about art, he maintains that he is moved by beauty.
"What I am doing is investing in art and giving something back to society. If that's eccentric, then I am proud of being so," he said