Hélio Oiticica - BRIC London Thursday, April 14, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist's estate; Private Collection, USA; Private Collection, Europe

  • Exhibited

    Hélio Oiticica: Barcelona, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 1–6 October 1992; Paris, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, 8 June–23 August 1992; Rotterdam, Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, 22 February–26 April 1992; Lisbon, Centro de Arte Moderna da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 20 January–20 March 1993; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, 31 October 1993–20 February 1994

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Colour is one of the work’s dimensions. It is inseparable from the phenomenon as a whole, from structure, from space and from time, but, like those three, it is a distinct, dialectic element, one of the dimensions”  HÉLIO OITICICA
    Hélio Oiticica’s Spatial Reliefs are key works within the artist’s aesthetic investigation into the relationship between colour and space. Produced at the height of the Neo-Concrete movement in the late 1950s, the Spatial Reliefs pertain to the artist’s interpretation of the theories developed by the critic Ferreira Gullar, particularly the idea of the work as a ‘non-object’ that arose from the critic’s interest in phenomenology. Neo-Concrete art emerged out of an opposition to the São Paulo-based concrete artists, who expounded a more strictly rationalist, often mathematical, basis for composition. Oiticica’s Spatial Reliefs demonstrate the Neo-Concrete interest in exploring expression through geometry, whereby form is achieved through intuition rather than calculation.
    Brazilian art historians have argued that these are works that stand within Oiticica’s progression from the monochromatic two-dimensional experimentation evidenced in the Inventions series, to his subsequent environments of colour, which he labelled Penetrables. This exploration would eventually lead to the ‘invention’ of the Parangolé, probably Oiticica’s most notorious work, for which the viewer became the support for the work itself.
    This progression in Oiticica’s practice, which took colour from the gallery wall and into space, eventually literally wrapping it around the viewer/spectator, is often seen in conjunction with fellow Neo-Concrete artist Lygia Clark, whose work took a similar route although through the exploration of form rather than colour.
    Spatial Reliefs were clearly considered by the artist himself as a significant stage in his creative trajectory. At his 1969 exhibition in London’s Whitechapel Gallery, the only international solo show he held during his lifetime, he included the reliefs despite having already shifted considerably from the Neo-Concrete experiments of the previous decade. Spatial Reliefs have since been included in all major posthumous exhibitions. Other significant events to display these works include Tate Modern’s inaugural temporary exhibition Century City, and Documenta X. Tate have recently acquired a Spatial Relief (red) together with other works by Oiticica, ranging from the Metaesquemas of 1957 to the Tropicália installation of 1967. This acquisition in effect saved these works from the fire that destroyed much of Oiticica’s estate in 2009.
     Dr. Michael Asbury

  • Artist Biography

    Hélio Oiticica

    Brazilian • 1937 - 1980

    Hélio Oiticica is one of Brazil's most influential artists. His work ranges from abstract compositions to early environmental installations exploring color, form, and material. He studied under Ivan Serpa in the mid-1950s and joined Grupo Frente, an association of artists in Rio de Janeiro interested in developing the legacy of European Constructivism within the context of the modernization of Brazil. Disagreements with the São Paulo Ruptura group led Oiticica and Lygia Clark to create the Neo-Concrete group (1959-'61).

    His Metaesquemas (1957-'58) are an important series of gouaches where color is reduced to a few tones and broken into irregular shapes that are isolated within a grid. However he soon rejected this conventional art form for more radical ones that demanded viewer participation, including his Parangoles (1964–'68), three-dimensional sculptures based on traditional Brazilian Carnival costumes. Yet an exploration of the physical nature of color remained a constant in his work up until his untimely death in 1980.

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Relevo Espacial

1959, constructed 1991
Painted wood.
98.5 × 78 × 10.5 cm (38 3/4 × 30 3/4 × 4 1/8 in).
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

£300,000 - 400,000 


14 - 15 April 2011