Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Helio Oiticica

Hélio Oiticica, B15 Glass Bólide 04 Earth, Terra 1964, Glass; pigment; oil with polyvinyl acetate emulsion on nylon mesh, 420 x 280 mm 930 mm, César and Claudio Oiticica Collection, Rio de Janeiro

Just a few days ago a fire destroyed most of the work created by Helio Oiticica, which was owned by his family.
According to the latest reports, the percentage might be as high as 90% and lost were the Parangoles (see video above) and the Bolides series.

Article from ARTINFO:

Fire Destroys Brazilian Artist Helio Oiticica’s Works
Published: October 19, 2009

RIO de JANEIRO— On October 16, a fire destroyed 90 percent of the estate of Brazilian neoconcretist Helio Oiticica (1937–1980), housed at the artist’s brother César Oiticica's residence in Brazil. The fire consumed an estimated $200 million worth of artwork in the form of 2,000 individual pieces. The artist's works were originally moved to Cesar’s house as a result of disagreements over money and the adequacy of the storage facilities at the Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Cesar’s house was equipped with humidity and temperature controls for the works, as well as working fire alarms and other safety systems. The fire took around three hours to be brought under control. The Brazilian tourism minister has called for an investigation into the causes of the fire and to see whether any works can be recovered.

The works lost in the fire were uninsured, reportedly due to financial issues, and included the artist’s archive of materials, which included drawings, notes, documentaries, and books. Key pieces such as Bólides, Parangolés, and works from the Oiticica’s 2007 exhibitions at the Tate and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston were destroyed. The fire also claimed pictures and film negatives by Brazilian photographer José Oiticica, Helio and César’s father.

Cesar spoke about the fire, saying, “It was the greatest tragedy that could happen to the Brazilian culture. Without doubt, the only victim of this tragedy was the Brazilian culture.”

Read more at Globo and greg.org.


Source; Tate Modern "The Body of Color" exhibition website

Bólides (1963–69)

Oiticica began to work on the first 'Bólides' (Fireballs) in 1963, after completing the 'Invenções' (Inventions) series, through which he had discovered the means of infusing colour with depth and luminosity. All of the 64 works in the Bólides series include some means of allowing light to penetrate into their interior, generating the effect of a luminous centre or nucleus, and making them containers of light.

The first Bólides Oiticica created – called 'Bólides caixas' (Box Bolides) – are highly elaborate yet simple constructions made from coarse painted plywood. Like small architectural environments, they appear to be 'inflamed' by light and charged with energy, an important evolution in Oiticica's idea of 'totalidade-côr' (total colour). They were designed to be handled, with moveable panels revealing new chromatic planes, though for conservation reasons they can no longer be touched. The compartments and openings – some visible, some hidden – hold loose pigments, mirrors, and other materials; Oiticica referred to the group as 'structures for inspection'.

With the introduction of Glass Bólides into the series, Oiticica began to include everyday materials such as glass vessels, plastic, earth, painted cloth, shells and foam, expanding the range of sensory experience offered through interaction with the artwork. The range of colours was extended to include pinks and blues, and ready-made objects also began to find their way into the work, further encouraging the viewer's emotional and intellectual participation.