Cecilia Vicuña (born 1948, Santiago, Chile) is a poet, artist and filmmaker who has moved between her native Chile and New York City for almost four decades. The author of more than 20 books of poetry, Vicuña exhibits and performs widely in Europe, Latin America and the United States.
Vicuña's multi-dimensional works begin as a poem, an image or a line that evolves into a film, a song, a sculpture or a collective performance. In 1966, she began creating her sculptural interventions – her precarios – combining ritual with the creation of assemblages using ephemeral, found materials. She is also renowned for the monumental installations she creates from raw wool – her quipus.
Vicuña first exhibited with England & Co in 2012, participating with the gallery in the Pinta Latin American Art Fairs in London and New York, and at Photo London. Her solo exhibition, Cecilia Vicuña, at England & Co (2013) was accompanied by a publication with an essay by Dawn Ades. That exhibition primarily focused on the artist's time in London in the 1970s, and included significant early paintings: Vicuña's painting of Violetta Parra (1973) was subsequently acquired from England & Co by Tate in 2017. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York acquired her portrait of Karl Marx (1973) from England & Co in 2018.
The exhibition also included the surviving works from the series Precarios: A Journal of Objects for the Chilean Resistance (1972-74) made in response to General Pinochet's military coup against President Salvador Allende. These works were acquired in 2014 from England & Co by Tate, London.
Vicuña's visual work has been exhibited at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Santiago; the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London; Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York; and documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel.
Read Thread – The Story of the Red Thread was published to coincide with Vicuña's installation at documenta 14 in Athens in April 2017. (See News.)
In 2014, a major exhibition, Artists for Democracy: El archivo de Cecilia Vicuña, was held at the Museu Nacional de Bellas Artes; Museu de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, Santiago, Chile. In 2017, the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, originated a traveling exhibition entitled Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen. In 2018, the exhibition, Cecilia Vicuña: Disappeared Quipu, opened at the Brooklyn Museum, NY. Vicuña is also represented in Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985, an exhibition that commenced at the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center, Los Angeles, and toured to Brooklyn Museum, New York, and to the Pinacoteca de São Paulo.
Constructions & mixed media Drawings & works on paper Paintings Photography