Oiticica, Hélilo

Hélio Oiticica

COSMOCOCA 5: HENDRIX – WAR CC5-02
1973/2003
c-print mounted on aluminum
29 3/4 x 44 3/4 inches
edition 4 of 12 + 3 artist proofs

From the late 1950s to 1980 (the year of his untimely death at 42), Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica continuously broke artistic ground and generated a body of work that incorporated painting, drawing, installation, interactive fabric clothing, and photography. Early on, Oiticica (alongside artists Lygia Clark and Lygia Pape) began making geometric abstractions as part of the Grupo Frente, but soon broke from these influences, joining the Grupo Neoconcreto in 1959 (formed by Clark and a handful of other artists). It is from this point forward that Oiticica begins to incorporate experimental materials and modes of art-making. After a move to New York in 1970, Oiticica developed (with friend and filmmaker Neville D’Almeida) an idea for a series of environmental installations called Cosmococas. Slide projections, sculptures, and furniture, in addition to American and Latin music come together in what he called “quasi-cinemas” to produce an interactive space that appeals to all the senses. In CC1: Trashiscapes (Cosmococa 1), for instance, the artist provides emery boards and mattresses, so guests can file their nails and relax while leisurely contemplating the projected images. This photograph comes from CC5: Hendrix-War, which features multi-colored hammocks and projected images of Jimi Hendrix’s War album covered in cocaine drawings. These drawings appear in many of the Cosmococas, and for Oiticica the narcotic symbolized a number of ideas, among them a counterculture subversion of the legal system, a decadent mode of pleasure, and a unique product indicative of Latin America’s connection to the rest of the world. In 2007, both the Tate Modern, London, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, organized major exhibitions of Oiticica’s work. His work is in numerous public collections, among them Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Belo Horizonte; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Tate Modern, London.

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courtesy of galerie lelong, new york
gallery website: www.galerielelong.com