Lisson Gallery

Hélio Oiticica: Dance in My Experience – Review in The Brooklyn Rail

9 September 2020

New Yorkers who had an opportunity to see the exhibition Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium at the Whitney Museum in 2017 may have tried on his “Parangolés”—multilayered garments and capes made of fabric, plastic, or paper often bearing political slogans. Devised to be worn, experienced, and danced with by the spectator, these groundbreaking paintings-in-motion were conceived after Hélio Oiticica began to take part in the Estação Primeira de Mangueira, the venerable samba school located in Mangueira, a favela in Rio de Janeiro, in 1964. Oiticica’s experience was profoundly transformative—so much so that he eventually began parading during Carnival. Initially affiliated with the Neo-Concrete Movement and its tenets of rigor, method, and technical precision, Oiticica shifted his investigations from geometric painting to aesthetic experiences beyond the traditional realm of visual arts, employing dance, choreography, music, rhythm, and the body to incorporate sensorial, participatory, popular, and vernacular elements into his work. To mark the first presentation of the “Parangolé” series in 1965, Oiticica invited his friends, residents of Mangueira, to wear them to the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. However, the participants were denied entrance. Reacting with expletives, Oiticica left the building, bringing with him the crowd that filled the gallery. The “Parangolés” were then activated by Mangueira members in the gardens designed by Roberto Burle Marx. As the work merged elements of so-called high and low art, it challenged art world standards and the institutional veto of the participation of people from a favela exposed the systemic racism and rampant social inequality in Brazilian society.

Visit The Brooklyn Rail to read Bruna Shapira's full review of Hélio Oiticica's exhibition Dance in My Experience at the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP). Originally scheduled to open in March, the presentation was closed due to the COVID-19 health crisis. A guided tour of the presentation, along with installation images and exhibition materials can be experienced on the MASP website here.

Lisson Gallery looks forward to presenting an exhibition of work by Hélio Oiticica across both New York spaces, opening 30 October, 2020.

Image: Hélio Oiticica parading with the Samba School Estação Primeira de Mangueira, Rio de Janeiro, circa 1965-1966. Courtesy the Hélio Oiticica project

Hélio Oiticica: Dance in My Experience – Review in The Brooklyn Rail
Click here for more In the Press
We use cookies on our website to improve your experience. You can find out why by reading our privacy policy. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies Privacy Policy