Hélio Oiticica P16 Parangolé Cape 12 “From Adversity We Live” 1965 (reconstructed 1992)

  • Not on view

Hélio Oiticica described his capes, or parangolés, as a manifestation of color in the surrounding space: “The viewer ‘wears’ the cape, which is formed by layers of colored fabric revealed as he moves, runs, or dances. The work demands the body’s direct involvement; the cape not only clothes the body, but also urges it to move, to dance.” Oiticica steered his art in the direction of participative action after spending time in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, or shantytowns, in 1964.

To inaugurate his parangolés, Oiticica asked his friends from the Mangueira favela to wear these works and come to the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro. They were, however, barred from entering. If the parangolés questioned the museum’s criteria for what is considered art, their activation by favela residents highlighted the racial and class tensions of a society riddled with social inequality. This parangolé hides within its pockets two objects: a plastic bag and a banner displaying the sentence “From adversity we live,” a political embrace of precariousness.

Gallery label from Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift, October 21, 2019–March 14, 2020
Jute, fabric, wood shavings, and plastics
44 7/8 × 10 5/8 × 8 11/16" (114 × 27 × 22 cm)
Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros through the Latin American and Caribbean Fund
Object number
© 2024 Projeto Hélio Oiticica
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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1992, Reconstruction for Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands, "HELIO OITICICA”
1992 - 1995, Estate of Luciano Figueiredo.
1995 - 2016, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York, and Caracas, acquired as gift from Estate of Luciano Figueiredo.
2016, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, acquired as promised gift from Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

Exhibition history

Rotterdam, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, "Helio Oiticica" February 22 - April 26, 1992 and tour:
Paris, Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, June 8 - August 23, 1992
Barcelona, Fundació Antoni Tápies, October 1 - December 6, 1992
Lisbon, Centro de Arte Moderna da Fundação Caluste Gulbenkian, January 20 - March 20, 1993
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, October 31, 1993 - February 20, 1994

Rio de Janeiro, Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, September 30, 1996 - January 30, 1997

Caracas, Espacios Unión, "Territorio común miradas diversas: Artistas plásticos latinoamericanos en el siglo XX", August 2000

Cambridge, Fogg Art Museum, "Geometric Abstraction, Latin American Art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection / Abstracción Geométrica Arte Latinoamericano en la Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros", March 3 - November 4, 2001

São Paulo, Museo de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, “Paralelos: Arte brasileira da segunda metade do século XX em contexto. Colección Cisneros”, March 21 - June 16, 2002 and tour:
Rio de Janeiro, Museo de Arte Moderna de Rio de Janeiro, July 11 - September 22, 2002

Buenos Aires, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, "Geo-metrías. Abstracción geométrica latinoamericana en la Colección Cisneros", March 14 - May 19, 2003 and tour:
Montevideo, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, July 3 - October 25, 2003

Lima, Museo de Arte de Lima, "Diálogos. Arte Latinoamericano desde la Colección Cisneros", July 22 - September 26, 2004 and tour:
Santiago, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, November 25, 2004 - February 28, 2005
Bogotá, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, May 5 - June 29, 2005

Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, "Cruce de Miradas. Visiones de América Latina en la Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros", August 2 - October 21, 2006

Austin, Blanton Museum of Art, "The Geometry of Hope. Latin american abstract art from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros", February 20 - April 22, 2007 and tour:
New York, Grey Art Gallery, September 12 - December 8, 2007

Stockholm, Moderna Museet, "Concrete Matters", February 24 - May 13, 2018

MoMA Exh. #2424: "Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift", 3rd Floor, 3 East, October 21, 2019 - September 12, 2020


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