Hélio Oiticica

 
 
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1937. 
Son of an entomologist who was also a photographer and painter, and the grandson of a philologist and anarchist leader, Hélio Oiticica was one of the most profound and adventurous artists of recent times. Positioning himself audaciously between the avant-garde, Brazilian popular culture, the realities of Third World «underdevelopment» and ‘60s radicalism, he came to reflect deeply on the issues concerning art, invention, and liberty in contemporary conditions. A product of the brilliant explosion of artistic activity in Brazil in the 1950s and 1960s, which encompassed music, cinema, architecture, poetry and the visual arts, Hélio Oiticica took an advanced position with his innovative Bólides, Penetrables, and Parangolés of the mid ‘60s. Later he spent periods in London and New York before returning to Brazil, where he died in 1980 at the age of 43.
 
1966-1967
wooden frames, cotton fabric, plastic sheets, carpet, nylon fabric, patchouli root, cinnamon sticks, sand, plants, metal, terracotta, brick and other materials
dimensions: 82 11/16 × 82 11/16 × 1 9/16in. (210 × 210 × 4cm)
César and Claudio Oiticica Collection

Tropicália, Penetrables PN 2 ‘Purity is a myth’ and PN 3 ‘Imagetical’ 1966–7 is a large-scale installation that consist of a sand floor with a winding path of gravel. Tropical plants in terracotta pots, and a metal cage with two parrots that emulate the tropics, and two Penetrabels, PN2 and PN3, made of wooden walls painted in bright primary colors reminiscent of the Bahaus, and the palette of modernist artist Piet Mondrian. Tropicália was first shown in Oiticica's exhibition Nova Objetividade Brasileira en 1967, challenging ideas of modernity by presenting the informal architecture of favelas (slums) in the gallery space and inviting the viewer to experience a poetic physical and sensual environment which makes references to the Brazilian way of life.