Spatial Relief and Drawings, 1955–59
On view will be two series by Oiticica—Grupo Frente and Metaesquemas—from the 1950s that would anticipate Oiticica’s later Relevo Espacial and investigations of three-dimensional space.
Oiticica was part of the Rio de Janeiro-based Grupo Frente, an artist collective led by Ivan Serpa from 1954–56. Members such as Oiticica, Lygia Clark, and Lygia Pape approached art through a rigorous commitment to experimentation and a rejection of traditional expressive means. During this time, Oiticica created a series of Grupo Frente works (1954–56) that reveal an early intuitive understanding of color and sensitivity to rhythm. In works such as Untitled (1955), surfaces seemingly vibrate with monochrome planes that induce a spatial world.
After Grupo Frente disbanded, Oiticica continued to create innovations in color, line, and form. He began to disrupt the density and structure of his early works in a series of gouaches on board, Metaesquemas (1957–58), which he sometimes titled Sêco. A highlight of the exhibition is two large-format Metaesquemas from 1958 that have never before been exhibited in the United States; although Oiticica was well known for this body of work, there are few that he created in this larger size. In these compositions, which were always horizontal, jostling forms arranged in a grid appear to quiver and warp.