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  • Provenance

    Collection of Joao Roberto Suplicy Hafers; by descent to Frederico de Souza Queiroz Neto; by descent to the current owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    As one of the most innovative Brazilian artists of his generation, Hélio Oiticica is a significant and influential figure in the development of contemporary art - a status confirmed by the critically acclaimed posthumous retrospective recently held at Tate Modern, London, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. In his relatively short but fertile career, and working across an eclectic range of media, Oiticica produced a remarkable body of work ranging from abstract compositions to early environmental installations, continually seeking to challenge the wy in which art could be experienced. As a co-founder, along with Lygia Clark, of the short-lived Neo-Constructionist movement, Oiticica liberated art from its traditional conceptual limits via his avant-garde aesthetic and working methods. The extremely rare-to-market Oiticica, Whose oeuvre was tragically and dramatically reduced last year by a fire at his brother's residence in Rio de Janeiro, is an inspirational forefather to an entire generation of performance artists working today.
    The present lot, Limite-Lumificaças, is a very early 1958 abstract composition on paper which shows an obvious affinity with the masters of modernism Paul Klee, Kazimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. The work belongs to Oiticica's Metaesquemas series, in which the twenty-year-old artist forged a more organic, experimental path towards the pure representation of space and colour than that of his modernist predecessors. As the artist once explained, the Metaesquemas are something that lies inbetween, that is neither painting nor drawing. It is rather an evolution of painting. 'I tried to cleanse colour, leaving the cardboard raw'  (M.C. Ramirez, 'The Embodiment of Color - "From the Inside Out" in Helio Oiticica:The Body of Color, Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts, 2007, p.41).
    An Obsessive dissection of space, the rectangular shapes in the present lot are arranged in a grid-like structure without complete regularity, and seem to rythmically shift and float slightly off the surface of the paper. This dynamic composition is further enhanced by Oiticica's use of mirror effect, which generates a sense of instability and movement, thus challenging the two-dimentionality of those most traditional of artistic materials - the paper and its support.

  • 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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17

Limite-Lumificaças

1958
Gouache on board.
45.1 x 53.7 cm (17 3/4 x 21 1/8 in).
Signed, titled, and dated in Portuguese 'Helio Oiticica Limite-Lumificaças 1958'.

Estimate
£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £103,250

BRIC Theme Sale

23-24 April 2010
London