• Hélio Oiticica Red Series, Série vermelha 1959

    Hélio Oiticica
    Red Series, Série vermelha 1959
    Oil-casein emulsion on wood fibreboard
    1150 x 1150 x 1150 mm

    César and Claudio Oiticica Collection, Rio de Janeiro

Red and Yellow Series (1959) and Inventions (1959–62)

Oiticica’s experimentation with the interaction between colour and light continued with a series of monochrome paintings in yellow or red, and with the series of Invenções (Inventions) begun in the same year. As a group, the Inventions reveal Oiticica’s attempts to produce ‘painted structures’ that would be completely ‘possessed and consumed’ by colour.

Inventions (1959–62)

As a group, the Inventions reveal Oiticica’s attempts to produce ‘painted structures’ that would be completely ‘possessed and consumed’ by colour.

These works are ‘inventions’ because they ‘anticipate possibilities beyond painting’. Here Oiticica developed ways of experimenting with the physicality of colour that he later made use of in three-dimensional works. In each of the 21 cm square panels, colour is superimposed in vertical layers. The colours chosen are so close in hue that they can be perceived at the same time as both one and several tones. When placed against light, the top layer leads the eye to perceive the underlying strata of colour. Unlike the Spatial Reliefs, which were for the most part painted with a spray gun, here Oiticica uses multi-directional brush strokes that allow light to penetrate and bounce off the vertical layers.