Cocaine drawings

helio-black.jpgHelio Oiticica likes to pamper his admirers. His installations often involves horizontal viewing, hammocks and cushions, with a good tune playing on top. The current one in Alison Jacques gallery on Berners Street has a room full of bed mats neatly arranged on the floor, each with a pillow and a nail file. I spent a great deal of Saturday afternoon laying there, watching the slides going round and round, my eyes wandering off in the dark, catching the red dots of a cctv camera hidden in the corner, my brain pondering on a possible meaning to the art, on a plausible reason for why I am here, feeling aware, snug and smug, while outside people are pacing up and down the street searching for yet another bargain as a cheap substitute for happiness.

Back on the screen, pictures of Luis Bunuel on the cover of New York Times magazine, November 1973 flick past. Oiticica has traced the contours of Bunuel’s face with cocaine, some of it powdering his nose, some of it hardening the lines around his eyes. These wicked pastels refer to an ancient America where coca was used as a spiritual and medicinal substance. They comment on imperialist America of the 1970s, the cosmetics industry and the idea of plagiarism in art.

With Cosmococa Programa in Progress – Quasi-Cinema CC1 Trashiscapes, Oiticica experiments with the work of art and his interaction with the viewer, making it a real stimulating treat for the senses and the brain. The hypnotic flicking of the slides had almost transported me into a trance when the quick rhythms of a Brazilian pop song revived the whole of my body. The projector suddenly went crazy and spat all the slides at me in the space of half-a-minute. It then came to a halt, a bright light flashed for a few seconds and I was back again in complete darkness, half-blind, half-illuminated inside. The slides started to appear again slowly – what I felt was extremely slowly – and I watched them again with renewed interest, noticing new details here and there, making sense of small prints, recognising a tune… I got out of my dark chamber, enlightened.

Helio Oiticica and Neville d’Almeida – Cosmococa Programa in Progress – Quasi-Cinema CC1 Trashiscapes, at Alison Jacques gallery.

Helio Oiticica is also at Tate Modern with his retrospective The Body of Colour.


~ by lavivette on July 9, 2007.

2 Responses to “Cocaine drawings”

  1. Dillinger, I love it man!

  2. après qlq semaines (ou mois) de wall street institute, promis : je te laisse un VRAI commentaire…;-)

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