© Hélio Oiticica

Hélio Oiticica: 04-CC1 (Trashiscapes / Cosmococa
Programa in Progress), 1973 / 2003
C-print mounted on aluminum
113.7 x 75.6 cms / 44 3/4 x 29 3/4 ins

Hélio Oiticica & Neville D'Almeida

Cosmococa Programa in Progress -
Quasi-Cinema CC1 Trashiscapes

Alison Jacques Gallery is delighted to present "Cosmococa Programa in Progress - Quasi-Cinema CC1 Trashiscapes", a participatory installation of slides, sound and objects by the key Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980), in collaboration with the filmmaker Neville D'Almeida (1941-). A series of photographs from "CC1 Trashiscapes" will also be exhibited alongside the installation in the second space of the gallery. This exhibition is timed to coincide with a retrospective of Oiticica's earlier work (until 1970), "Hélio Oiticica: The Body of Colour", opening at Tate Modern on June 6.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1937, Hélio Oiticica became known in the late 50s and 60s for his colour and spatial works, as well as installation and performance works such as the penetrables and parangolés. After moving to New York in 1971, he began incorporating elements from film and theatre to create the environments that he would dub "quasi-cinemas." Neville D'Almeida was born in Belo Horizonte in 1941 and is one of Brazil's most influential filmmakers. He has written, directed and produced over 50 feature, short and experimental films.

"CC1 Trashiscapes" was created in March of 1973 and first exhibited at Babylonests, Oiticica's East Village apartment and studio in New York. The installation consists of two slide projections, viewed against a soundtrack of music from the northeast region of Brazil, Jimi Hendrix and fragments of Stockhausen. The audience is "invited" to lie down on mattresses and pillows and file their nails while surrounded by imagery incorporating Luis Buñuel, Frank Zappa, cocaine, and the parangolés.

The quasi-cinemas demonstrate a reversal in the traditional roles between the spectator and the work of art - rather than observe passively, the viewer is invited to participate in a multi-sensory and interactive experience, subverting the usual separation between art and life. With earlier installations, such as "Tropicália" (1967) and "Eden" (1969), Oticica's investigation revolved around an exploration of the question of the viewer's participation in the work. From the early seventies onwards, the question of the viewer's participation in the work was reconfigured in the form of an invention of "a structure of leisure as pleasure opposed to the current one of leisure as the programmed desublimation that sustains hour-periods of alienated work-production". Helio Oiticica, "Mundo-Abrigo," text excerpted from NTBK 2/73 dated July 21, 1973.

Collaboration between producers, a fluid authorship and an open-ended process were some of the hallmarks of the experimental art of the '70s. Many contemporary practices that are now widespread have their seeds in the raw installations from this period. Oiticica's influence as a progenitor of these practices is now being more fully acknowledged, with the "Cosmococa" collaboration between Oiticica and D'Almeida as one of the clearest examples of these prescient movements. In his extensive notes on the "Cosmococa" project, Oiticica described the union as "a structural innovation within Neville's work and an unexpected field for my longing to invent in the light of my dissatisfaction with 'cinema-language'".

The Quasi-cinemas "constitute a laconic, yet marvellously explicit and synthetic, commentary on the tragic paradoxes that make up the political and social reality at the end of the century." Carlos Basualdo, "Hélio Oiticica, Quasi-Cinemas", New Museum of Contemporary Art, Wexner Centre for the Arts, 2001 (exhibition catalogue)

In recent years Oiticica has been a central figure in several major exhibitions examining the cross cultural movements in art and culture, including "Open Systems" at the Tate Modern, London (2005), "Tropicália" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2005), and "Beyond Geometry" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2004). The Cosmococa programa in progress series Hélio Oiticica and Neville D'Almeida has been presented internationally at the Jeu de Paume, Walker Art Center, Whitechapel Art Center, MOCA, Los Angeles, MACBA, Barcelona, and most recently at the Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, and at the MALBA in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In December 2006, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston presented "Hélio Oiticica: Body of Light", which will open at Tate Modern on 6 June, 2007.

Exhibition: 6 June - 7 July 2007
Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 10 am - 6 pm

Alison Jacques Gallery
16-18 Berners Street
GB-London W1T 3LN
Telephone +44 020 7631 4720
Fax +44 020 7631 4750
Email info@alisonjacquesgallery.com