Hélio Oiticica: Dance in My Experience

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How Hélio Oiticica led Brazilian art's transition from abstract art to performable sculpture

One of the most radical and joyful artists of the 20th century, Hélio Oiticica (1937-80) helped lead the charge in Brazilian art’s unique transition from abstract concrete art to performative objects and collective performance.

As MoMA’s 2019 exhibition Sur Moderno demonstrated, one of Oiticica’s most revolutionary projects was the Parangolé, wearable sculptures made from fabric, plastic or paper. The Parangolé is meant to be worn, inhabited and danced by a participant, lending a physical spontaneity to the piece that entirely blurs the boundaries between the art object and those who experience it.

Dance in My Experience traces the genealogy of this theme within the artist’s oeuvre, identifying rhythmic, choreographic and dance elements throughout his trajectory, from his first Metaesquemas through the Spatial Reliefs, Nuclei and Bólides, culminating in the Parangolés. It includes texts by Oiticica and contributions by numerous scholars.