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Hélio Oiticica / Neville D'Almeida at Malba
‘Momentos frames - CC5 Cosmococa 5 Hendrix-War’, New York, 1973. 10 fotografías color sobre papel montadas sobre aluminio, 114 x 76 cm. Projeto Hélio Oiticica.
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA.-Malba presents Hélio Oiticica / Neville D´Almeida CC Program in progress, the first major exhibition in Argentina of Hélio Oiticica (Rio de Janeiro, 1937-1980), one of the most important Brazilian artists to the Geometrical movement and to the local avant-garde in the sixties. His work includes paintings, objects, environments, cinematographic experiences called "Quasi-cinemas" and photographs.

This exhibition includes four of the eight Cosmococas which Oiticica and the filmmaker Neville D’Almeida conceived in the seventies while living in New York. These pieces consist of a group of environments with slide projections and sound tracks. They are intended to renovate cinematographic language by means of playful environments where viewers become participants in a sensorial experience. They are also a reflection on contemporary music and pop culture: each one is dedicated to a figure such as Marilyn Monroe, Jimi Hendrix, Luis Buñuel and Yoko Ono.

In addition to the four Cosmococas, the exhibition includes a group of color-print photographs of some of the images that are projected in the environments, such as Quasi-cinemas.

These pieces encapsulate several of Oiticica’s fundamental concerns including the dissolution of the traditionally passive relationship between the cinematographic image and the viewer; the connection between still and moving image, between art and popular cultural; public participation in art work and the blending of art and life into a superior experience.

All of the pieces exhibited in Malba are courtesy of the Projeto Hélio Oiticica (Hélio Oiticica Project), a Contemporary Art Center in Rio de Janeiro created in 1981 with the objective of conserving and promoting Oiticica’s art.

“With the Hélio Oiticica / Neville D´Almeida CC Program in progress exhibition, Malba proposes to contribute to the dissemination of this lesser-known yet crucial phase of Oiticica’s work by presenting a group of his Cosmococas. In these New York installations of the 1970s developed in collaboration with Brazilian director Neville D´Almeida –and which are part of Oiticica’s works connected to film, grouped under the name of Quasi-cinema– the artist incorporated the cinematographic image as an instrument of experiment, as a new form of fragmented language, as a means of reflection on the modes of production of subjectivity in post-industrial society, as a tool for a “critique in progress”, states Eduardo F. Costantini Jr., Executive Director of Malba.

Cosmococas and momentos frames - In 1959, Oiticica -along with Lygia Clark, Amílcar de Castro, Franz Weissmann, poet Ferreira Gullar and others- were part of the neo-Concretism movement in Rio de Janeiro. In the late sixties, Oiticica becomes a crucial figure in the Tropicalism movement.

In the early seventies, he moves to New York, where he begins to experiment with the cinematographic image. He is steeped in the New York scene at the time and produces the group of works entitled Quasi-cinemas, which include the installations Block Experiments in Cosmococa. Within this group, the Cosmococas are a crucial sub-group, four of which are in the Malba exhibition.

Influenced by Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of perception and other theories, Oiticica’s writings from the seventies indicate that he begins to suggest a new cinematographic language - the product of experimentation, understood as a way to free oneself from the viewer’s submission to film and from the supposed “linearity” of film’s language.

Based on sequences of photographs that he calls Momentos frames, Oiticica’s work interferes with the linear time of film to constitute a “photographic strip” that recounts the process of creation. This gives rise to the concept of “Quasi-cinema”.

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