Feb 1–Mar 31, 2019

Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen

Cecilia Vicuña, Precarios, 1966-2017. Site-specific installation: 110-112 found-object sculptures: stone, shells, glass, wood, plastic, thread, debris. Presented in field of sand and along the wall on small shelves made of wood. Dimensions variable. Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen, 2017. Installation view, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans. Photo: Alex Marks
About

Marking the first major solo exhibition of influential Chilean-born artist Cecilia Vicuña, the multidisciplinary presentation will offer unprecedented insight into the evolution of her practice through a range of landmark works, including sculpture, video, text, performance, and site-specific installations, drawn from the past four decades of her career. A poet, artist, filmmaker, and human rights activist, Vicuña operates fluidly between concept and craft, text and textile to draw attention to pressing social and political issues, transforming her pieces into topical vehicles of engagement with economic and environmental disparities and the reclamation of ancestral traditions.

The exhibition will re-frame dematerialization as more than a formal consequence of 1960s conceptualism but also as an artistic response to radical climate change. The extraordinary range of pieces featured in the exhibition will illuminate how Vicuña’s approach blends overlapping discourses of conceptual art, land art, poetry, and feminist art practices. Highlights include:

  • A large selection of pieces from her seminal precario sculpture series, which Vicuña began assembling from pieces of wood, thread, and other found objects at the beginning of her career in 1966 as form of political resistance to the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet;
  • Quipus, an ancient method of South American record-keeping through knotted cords that Vicuña reimagines and reinvents through a mix of organic and industrial materials.

Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen is co-organized by Andrea Andersson, The Helis Foundation Chief Curator of the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans and Julia Bryan-Wilson, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Organized at ICA by Assistant Curator Meg Onli.