Barracão – Formulation of the idea of the Parangolé
, 1964: Brazilian root root
, or the foundation of the root Brazil, in opposition to the folklorization of this root material
—the folklorization is born from oppressive camouflage: “to show what is ours, our alues…”—the excess of primitive art, etc.—the Parangolé
rebels, since ’64, against this oppressive folklorization, and uses the same material which would formerly be folk-Brazil, as non - oppressive structure
, as a revelation of a my - root reality.
—Hélio Oiticica, 1969 1
Galeria Nara Roesler | São Paulo is pleased to be presenting Barracão
, a solo show of seminal Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980), his second at the gallery. Curated by Cesar Oiticica Filho, with critical essay by Ginevra Bria, and produced in conjunction with Projeto Hélio Oiticica, the exhibition will present a specific facet of the artist’s innovative oeuvre: collaborations. On view are Parangolé P 22 Cape 18, “Nirvana”
and A Arma Fálica
, both created with Antonio Manuel; INFORMATION
, created with Lee Jaffe; and Cosmococa 2, CC2 Onobject
, created with Neville D’Almeida.
Essential to this exhibition are the works Oiticica called Parangolés
. Ann Gallagher, Director of Collections (British Art) at Tate, says, “Through his work he was to challenge the traditional boundaries of art, and its relationship with life, and to undermine the separation of the art-object from the viewer, whom he turned into an active participant…. Oiticica reached a crucial point in his integration of colour, structure, time and space with the Parangolé series: banners, capes and tents constructed from a variety of materials, including fabric, plastic, mats, screens and ropes.”2
Antonio Manuel’s first contact with Oiticica was at the Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, during the exhibit Nova Objectividade Brasileira
(New Brazilian Objectivity, 1967). Oiticica later invited Manuel to show in his Tropicália anthology, and in 1968 they created Parangolé P 22, Cape 18
, “ Nirvana ” together, using a newspaper image of a skinny African child from Biafra, which Manuel had previously used in his Urnas Quentes
(Hot Ballot Boxes). The concept of Parangolé
is public, collective. It is related to costumes, samba, carnival, the Parangolé
does not exist by itself”, says the curator Cesar Oiticica Filho. “Helio had this ideal of collective and democratic production and in this sense, he had many creative partners. He had this spirit”, synthesizes Antonio Manuel.
In 1970, Manuel invited Oiticica to collaborate on his photo-novella, A Arma Fálica
(The Phallic Weapon). The photo-novella features Oiticica as Guru, returning, after several years in London on a war mission, to his wife neném, whom he left locked up at home. Upon his return he finds her with paulomarginal, and a brawl ensues. The story ends with Guru killing his wife’s lover using his phallic weapon. In Manuel’s words, “With the photo-novella, I wanted to work on new means of expression, carrying out this work in an affective form of partnership and in the spirit of thinking about art. There was the idea and argument; the location, I had already established it: Praça Mauá and Oiticica’s house on Rua Engenheiro Alfredo Duarte. As a scenario, we used household objects, with Hélio’s participation and his inseparable black-andwhite TV.”3
In 1970, Kynaston McShine invited Oiticica to create a work for his exhibition Information
at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Oiticica proposed making a videotape, one hour in length. As he stated in his correspondence with McShine, “I am making it with an artist with whom I have close affinities, Lee Jaffe; he is American, living here now, and we are planning this together; we want to make something as direct, dry, instant alive information: not about anyone’s works, etc., but a ‘state of being’ in itself.” This work was not presented in McShine’s exhibition; instead, Oiticica later chose to produce Ninhos
will be completed for the first time at the gallery, following Oiticica’s specific written instructions and guided by Jaffe himself. “This is the challenge, to guide a work that was never executed before. It is an exhibition that brings new issues about Helio’s work, including museological ones”, says Cesar, adding that he does not remember any other show that advanced so much in Helio’s research. “It is a seed, we are starting to look into Barracão , which was his own life”, he concludes.
During his stay in New York, and in collaboration with the filmmaker Neville D’Almeida, Oiticica conceived Block - Experiments in Cosmococa
— Program in Progress (1973–1974), a series of nine “supra-sensorial” environments, each incorporating slide projections, soundtracks, cocaine powder drawings, and a set of instructions for visitors. The work is the epitome of what Oiticica called his “quasi-cinemas” and constitutes his desire to merge individual “life experience” with art. On view at the gallery is Cosmococa 2, CC2 Onobject
, in which five photovisual elements are projected on the walls, from slides containing images from the books
Grapefruit by Yoko Ono, What Is a Thing?
by Heidegger, and Your Children
by Charles Manson; knives, paper, and silver straw; cocaine; and assorted objects scattered on work surfaces, including a ruler, pencils, cards, and a drawing pad. The work invites the public to dance in a room whose floor is completely covered in a medium-thick white foam rubber. In his August 12, 1973, instructions on Onobject
, Oiticica states, “It should be something else: S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G N-E-W as YOKO herself is.”
about the artists
Hélio Oiticica (Rio de Janeiro, 1937–1980) was one of the most creative artists of the 20th century and played a key role in the development of Latin American art and culture. Since his premature death at the age of 42, his influence and importance have continued to grow. A key figure in the Tropicália movement in Brazil, which revolutionized popular music and the arts in the 1970s, Oiticica had to escape the military regime and was forced into exile in London and New York, where he forged new alliances and was a key influence on a wide range of artists. Among his most original achievements was the innovative and uncompromising use of color that became a feature of his entire career, from his early abstract compositions to his later sculptures and large-scale installations. Combining it with rhythm, music, and performance, he used color to stimulate visual and tactile sensations, drawing in and involving his audience.
Antonio Manuel (Avelãs de Caminho, Portugal, 1947) is considered one of Brazil’s most prominent artists. Alongside figures such as Oiticica and Cildo Meireles, Manuel formed part of the neo-avant-garde movement that emerged in Rio de Janeiro during the second half of the 20th century. Like many of his contemporaries, he developed a highly experimental oeuvre that challenged the limits of traditional art practice.
Lee Jaffe first came to international prominence in the 1980s with his largescale, multimedia works of historical assemblage. These critically acclaimed artworks quickly became the subject for a number of major museum exhibitions, including solo shows at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England. Prior to this period of art production, Jaffe played a unique role in the history and early international recognition of reggae music and culture. He lived with Bob Marley in Jamaica for three years and was a member of his band, the Wailers, playing harmonica. He later produced Peter Tosh’s seminal first solo album, Legalize It
, and shot the iconographic album cover. Jaffe has produced other recordings, for Joe Higgs (considered the father of reggae), the Grammy nominated band the Wailing Souls, dancehall innovator Barrington Levy, and Grammy Award–winning Morgan Heritage. In his visual arts practice he has often worked collaboratively, creating works with Hélio Oiticica, Vito Acconci, Nancy Spero, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tricky, and Nari Ward. He is the author of One Love: Life With Bob Marley and the Wailers
, published by W.W. Norton.
Neville D’Almeida (Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 1941) is a screenwriter, writer, producer, actor, photographer, activist, plastic and light artist, and controversial filmmaker, who directed films censored by Brazilian military dictatorship that were never shown, such as Mangue Bangue and Surucucu Catiripapo , both made in 1971, and Gatos da N oite , from 1973, the same year in which he co-created the Cosmococa series with Oiticica. D’Almeida went from being a proscribed artist to the second-biggest blockbuster director in the history of Brazilian cinema with his movie Dama da Lotação
, 1978, adapted from Nelson Rodrigues’ text.
about the curator
Cesar Oiticica Filho (Rio de Janeiro, 1968) is an artist, director, screen writer and film producer appointed by the french magazine Photo as one of the new brazilian talents of 2005. Cesar invented a new technique mixing painting and photography presented in the exhibition Dança da Luz
, in 2004. He directed the film Cosmocápsula
(2003) and the short-film A invenção da cor
(2011). He has been the Curator of Projeto Hélio Oiticica for over 15 years, producing and lauching numerous award-winning exhibitions and books about the artist.
about ginevra bria (author of the critical text Helio Oiticica: Experimental Practice of Freedom
, commissioned specifically for Barracão)
Ginevra Bria is an Italian art critic and curator based in Milan and Switzerland (Zurich, Geneve), working in avant-gardes art theory and criticism. She is actually curator at large at Isisuf – International Institute on Futurist Studies and Carlo Belloli - Mary Vieira archives director. Bria has a particular fondness for the humanistic aspect and for correlations of Avant-gardes among Europe, Brazil and Russia. In the wake of this attitude, for Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci di Prato she co-curated the exhibition and catalogue After Utopia. A view on Brazilian Contemporary Art
(2010), enhancing the European debate on the use of poetry and space by Brazilian artists. She promoted Isisuf archives, collaborating with Institutions as: Sotheby’s exhibition program in Milan (2012); S.R. Guggenheim in New York and Vivien Green curatorial team devoted to Futurism, 1909 - 1944: Reconstructing the Universe
(2014); and Museum Tinguely in Basel. Also a former contemporary art editor for Exibart magazine (2005-2011), she is now currently writing for Italian and international art magazines (Flash Art, Flash Art International, Aesthetica Magazine, Rolling Stone, Alfabeta2). She taught at the School of Visual Communication (Politecnico di Milano) until 2005.
about galeria nara roesler
Galeria Nara Roesler is a leading Brazilian contemporary art gallery, representing seminal Brazilian and international artists who emerged in the 1950’s as well as preeminent mid-career and emerging artists who dialog with the currents put forth by these historical figures. Founded by Nara Roesler in 1989, the gallery has consistently fomented curatorial practice while preserving the utmost quality in art production. This has actively been put into practice through a select and rigorous exhibitions program created in close collaboration with its artists; the implementation and fostering of the Roesler Hotel program, a platform for curatorial projects; and continued support of artists beyond the gallery space, working with institutions and curators in offsite shows. In 2012 the gallery doubled its São Paulo exhibition space, in 2014 expanded to Rio, and in 2015 opened in New York City, continuing its mission to provide the best platform for its artists to show their work.1
Orig.: “Crelazer,” “As possibilidades do Crelazer,” “Barracão,” “LDN” (1969). First published in Revista de Cultura Vozes
, Petrópolis, Aug. 1970 (partial), and Aspiro ao Grande Labirinto,
Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 1986 (full text). First translated into English in Hélio Oiticica
(exh. cat.), Rotterdam and Minneapolis: Witte de With and Walker Art Center, 1992. 2
English translation of A Arma Fálica
, preface in Antonio Manuel: I Want to Act, Not Represent!
(exh. cat.), New York: Americas Society and APC, 2011.
Press release courtesy Galeria Nara Roesler.