Introduction to Hélio Oiticica’s “The Senses Pointing Toward a New Transformation” (1969)

Hélio Oiticica’s “The Senses Pointing Towards a New Transformation” was written between June 18 and June 25, 1969, in London and submitted to the British art magazine Studio International, but never appeared in print. The essay negotiates art after objecthood and contextualises Oiticica’s project to effect a definitive radicalization of anti-art, one that the artist held to be necessary in light of the impasse reached by the longstanding conflict between formalist art and its various neo-avant-garde negations (both within the Brazilian and the international neo-avant-gardes). For Oiticica, after both Neoconcretism and Minimalism, it was now the process of art making itself that had to be rethought. Oiticica did so by developing what he called “crebehavior,” a practice that revealed the routinized character of everyday life and proposed an immanent transformation of the same via a change in everyday behavioral patterns. Such a transformation opened up the possibility of bringing about “creleisure,” a condition that Oiticica understood to involve both the realization and the dissolution of art.

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