In 1969, while living in London and a year before relocating to New York, the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica wrote, “I have no place in the world.” In this presentation, I consider Oiticica’s transnational trajectory and the ways in which displacement became a generative operation in his practice. Early in his artistic development, Oiticica established a conceptual matrix that he iteratively revised and elaborated throughout his career. I suggest how this matrix provided a logic of permanent evolution, or “program-in-progress,” as the artist put it, through which identity might remain radically unbound.
Irene V. Small is Associate Professor of Art & Archaeology and a current Behrman Faculty Fellow at Princeton University, where she teaches modern and contemporary art and criticism with a transnational focus. Her research interests include experimental practices of the 1960s and ’70s, legacies of abstraction, temporalities of art, problems of methodology and interpretation, relationality and the social implications of form. She is the author of Hélio Oiticica: Folding the Frame (University of Chicago Press, 2016). Her essays and criticism have appeared in such publications as October, Third Text, ARTMargins, Artforum, RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, The Brooklyn Rail, and the Getty Research Journal. At Princeton, she is a member of the executive committees of the Program in Media and Modernity, the Gauss Seminars in Criticism, and the Program in Latin American Studies.
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