The most comprehensive retrospective on the prominent Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980) to take place to date will present works from all phases of his career. Originally a painter, Oiticica already began realizing ideas for extending art into space in the early 1960s. These activities made him a pioneer of participatory art, i.e. art which opens up new realms of experience through the viewer's active participation. His oeuvre encompasses his early neo-Concrete abstract paintings, reliefs which float freely in space, and room installations which can be entered and explored by the visitor. During a stay of several years in New York in the seventies, he engaged in intensive exchange with American and European avant-garde artists of the time.
Concurrently with Joseph Beuys in Germany, Oiticica likewise strove to dissolve the finalized character of artworks and to make art accessible to society and vice versa. His usable works, performances and environments as well as his writings – which will also be included in the show – will convey these ideas to striking effect.
In cooperation with the Frankfurt Palmengarten, the exhibition will be enhanced by three works to be presented at the Palmengarten from 31 August to 27 October 2013. These outdoor works will be conceived in such a way that visitors can enter and interact with them. The Goethe-Universität Frankfurt's Curatorial Studies course will develop an accompanying programme featuring films, concerts and performances.
The retrospective is being curated by César Oiticica Filho and Fernando Cocchiarale in cooperation with Peter Gorschlüter, deputy director of the MMK.