Lisson Gallery

Hélio Oticicia's 'Magic Square #3' installed for the first time ever in Brasília

26 May 2022

From 30 April, the gardens of the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center will host a never-before-realised installation by Hélio Oiticica. The Invention of Color: Magic Square #3 is the third Magic Square in the world, and only the second that is open to the public.

Magic Square is a labyrinth built in the open air, painted with bright colors, transporting art outside of the gallery and museum environment and offering an experience integrated to nature as well as urban life, while turning the spectator into co-creator. Synonymous with invention, Hélio Oiticica was an artist who broke with the limits of the painting, transposing the screen to the environment and proposing the integration of the spectator as an active participant in a work of art. For Oiticica, art gains meaning in the relationship with the human being, and he believed it should be lived, experienced, enjoyed.

Magic Square #3 is an installation that creates bright color planes using paint and materials such as concrete, terrazzo, glass, and brickwork, constructing spaces to be traveled and experienced by the visitor. The Magic Squares were first developed between 1977 and 1979. The title—originally in English—seeks to conflate the Portuguese terms “quadra” and “praça” (meaning “court” and “square”, respectively), and symbolizes a space that is meant to be public. The proposal of the Magic Squares is an interaction with the public, allowing the spectator to move through the open-air labyrinth, made with different materials, allowing for different sensory experiences when walking along the large spaces.

This is the first ever installation of the piece, which was built according to instructions left by the artist in writing and models. Overall, there are 200 square meters of a construction that defies labels and conventions. In it, the spectator is invited to let themselves be stirred by the experience of the unpredictable and to celebrate the potency of art as the exercise of freedom. Magic Square #3 is set to become a new landmark for the Brazilian capital.

Image courtesy of Cesar Oiticica Filho

Hélio Oticicia's 'Magic Square #3' installed for the first time ever in Brasília
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