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Almine Rech-Picasso Goes Global Ocula Conversation Almine Rech-Picasso Goes Global

French gallerist Almine Rech-Picasso opened her first space in Asia on Shanghai's historic Bund in July this year, bringing her eponymous gallery's total locations to five. The Shanghai gallery occupies roughly 4,000 square feet on the second floor of the three-storey Amber Building, a beautiful warehouse space, originally occupied by the Central...

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From the Gallery to the Streets: Home Works 8 in Beirut Ocula Report From the Gallery to the Streets: Home Works 8 in Beirut 8 Nov 2019 : Nat Muller for Ocula

There's an inside joke amongst the team of Ashkal Alwan, The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts: that every time an edition of its biennial forum on cultural practices is planned, a national crisis happens. The eighth edition of Home Works was no different: it opened on 17 October amidst the most devastating wildfires that Lebanon had witnessed...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Hélio Oiticica

(1937 - 1980), Brazil

Hélio Oiticica was an important figure of the Neo-Concrete (1959–1961) art movement in Brazil. Neo-Concretists called for artworks to be like living organisms, engaging in spatial relationships with the viewers and thereby rejecting a rationalist approach that emphasised pure forms of representation. Despite the short span of the art movement, it informed the artist's progression towards an artistic style that was less formalistic and more interactive, and left a lasting impact on later works in which the participation of the viewers remained a recurring theme.

Oiticica was born to a scholarly family in Rio de Janeiro in 1937. As a teenager, he learned painting under artist and educator Ivan Serpa at the Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro. A year later, in 1955, he joined Grupo Frente (1952–1964), a collective that was co-founded by Serpa and embraced Concrete art. The term Concrete art was first used by Dutch artist Theo van Doesburg in 1930, who advocated for a form of abstraction that removed all reality and symbolic meaning by working with lines, colours, and planes, which he considered to be truly concrete. In his earlier artworks, Oiticica often used gouache on paper or cardboard to explore colour, shape, movement, and geometrical arrangement. The 'Metaesquemas' series (1957–1958), comprising over 350 gouache paintings, is an example of the artist investigating the interaction between shapes and background.

After 'Metaesquemas', Oiticica shifted his artistic interest from two-dimensional paintings to artworks that invite viewers to evaluate their relationship with the physical space. In 1960 the artist became an active participant in the Neo-Concrete movement, which had been initiated in the previous year by Brazilian artists—including Lygia Pape and Lygia Clark—who had grown dissatisfied with the rigidity of Concrete art. Hélio Oiticica's artwork Spatial Relief (red) REL 036 (1960), for example, presents geometrical pieces of plywood painted in red, suspended overhead so that viewers needed to actively navigate through space to see the colours and shapes from different sides.

Oiticica was eager to break the polite distance between viewers and artworks. In the mid-1960s, he began to make other artworks that people could physically interact with, such as his 'Parangolés': capes and banners printed with messages that people could wave or wear while dancing. The artist's most notable participatory artwork, Tropicália (1967), was an installation recreating the stereotype of Brazil as a tropical state, where visitors were invited to lounge on the sand, stroll around the palm plants, or even relax in the makeshift structures. In the artist's own words, 'The museum is the world' and an 'everyday experience.'

Collections that feature Hélio Oiticica's artworks include Tate; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Biography by Chelsea Ma | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Hélio Oiticica contemporary artwork
Hélio OiticicaUntitled, 1958 Gouache on cardboard
50.2 x 67.6 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Penetrável Filtro by Hélio Oiticica contemporary artwork
Hélio OiticicaPenetrável Filtro, 1972 Mixed media installation
250 x 607 x 807 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Relevo espacial yellow A21 by Hélio Oiticica contemporary artwork
Hélio OiticicaRelevo espacial yellow A21, 1959/2012 Acrylic paint on wood
120 x 160 x 14 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler
Untitled by Hélio Oiticica contemporary artwork
Hélio OiticicaUntitled, 1956 Gouache on cardboard
50.1 x 58 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Untitled by Hélio Oiticica contemporary artwork
Hélio OiticicaUntitled, 1955 Gouache on cardboard
48.4 x 47.8 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Untitled by Hélio Oiticica contemporary artwork
Hélio OiticicaUntitled, 1955 Gouache on cardboard
50 x 47.8 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Relevo Espacial by Hélio Oiticica contemporary artwork
Hélio OiticicaRelevo Espacial, 1959–1960 Acrylic on wood
98 x 120 x 20 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Untitled by Hélio Oiticica contemporary artwork
Hélio OiticicaUntitled, 1955 Gouache on cardboard
47.8 x 48.6 cm
Galerie Lelong & Co. New York

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Hélio Oiticica, Spatial Relief and Drawings, 1955-59 at Galerie Lelong & Co. New York, New York
Closed
3 November 2018–26 January 2019 Hélio Oiticica Spatial Relief and Drawings, 1955-59 Galerie Lelong & Co. New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Grupo Frente at Galerie Lelong & Co. New York, New York
Closed
22 June–5 August 2017 Group Exhibition Grupo Frente Galerie Lelong & Co. New York

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia Ocula Report Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia 18 May 2019 : Fawz Kabra for Ocula

Bridging almost a century of Brazilian art, Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia at Blum & Poe in New York (30 April–22 June 2019), hosted in collaboration with Mendes Wood DM, offers a rereading of Brazilian Modernism through the works of artists practising at different times, from the 20th century through to the...

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In Related Press

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Too Big for a Booth? Art Basel Still Has Room for Your Art Related Press Too Big for a Booth? Art Basel Still Has Room for Your Art The New York Times : 11 June 2019

Since it was begun in 2000, Unlimited, which is offered only at the fair in Basel, has proved to be a particularly popular draw. Most people attending the fair–there were 95,000 last year–are expected to visit the section, not only for the sheer wow factor of the works, but also for the relevance of its offerings.'I often tell people that...

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Hélio Oiticica: Spatial Relief and Drawings 1955–59 Related Press Hélio Oiticica: Spatial Relief and Drawings 1955–59 The Brooklyn Rail : 11 December 2018

Hélio Oiticica (1937 – 1980) is a now integral part of the New York art scene, in large measure thanks to his 2017 retrospective at the Whitney, To Organize Delirium, which provided New Yorkers with an opportunity to experience him in full.

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Cool Heat: An Art Outlaw Who Still Simmers Related Press Cool Heat: An Art Outlaw Who Still Simmers The New York Times : 13 July 2017

What can art do for you? Brighten your wall. Return your investment. Snag you a pass to a V.I.P. lounge. That's about it in the art fair age. And if those are your criteria of aesthetic value, I can't think what you'd make of Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a survey of scrappy, ephemeral work so high on...

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Tripping Through Hélio Oiticica’s Mythical World Related Press Tripping Through Hélio Oiticica’s Mythical World Hyperallergic : 3 January 2017

I’ve heard Caetano Veloso’s 1968 song Tropicália hundreds of times. My parents, who are Brazilian, played it when I was growing up, and it embodies most everything I love in music: an eclectic mix of samba, bossa nova, and rock. Some might say it’s the song that launched the career of Veloso, who that same year would be jailed, together with fellow...

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In Video & Audio

Hélio Oiticica and the Tropicália Movement | TateShots Related Video & Audio Hélio Oiticica and the Tropicália Movement | TateShots Tate : 15 February 2019

Discover the artist Hélio Oiticica – one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.The Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica challenged the traditional boundaries of art. He made the viewer an active participant in his work, now seen as a major moment in the development of contemporary art.

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Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium Related Video & Audio Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium Whitney Museum of American Art : 15 September 2017

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is the first full-scale U.S. retrospective in two decades of the Brazilian artist's work.

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