Cecilia Vicuña © Jane England
Paracas, 18.5 min, 1983
Cecilia Vicuña’s intriguing trajectory—from her early identification with the Indigenous people of her native Chile to her current identity as an internationally respected poet and artist—is exemplary but hardly ordinary. Few artists so buffeted by a lifetime of political circumstances have found such uniquely poetic ways to respond to the winds of terror, change, and hope. – Lucy R. Lippard
Conceived as a visual and sound poem in seven scenes, this animation of a two-thousand-year-old textile in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum invites entrance into a different visual and sonic space: the universe of the pre-Columbian weavers who created the portrait of a ritual procession using a unique three-dimensional looping technique developed in the Paracas/Nazca region. Vicuña interprets the textile as a celebration of the harvest and the Thread of Life on the desert coast of Peru. – Electronic Arts Intermix
What is poetry to you?, 24 min, 1984
The poem is not speech, not in the earth, not on paper, but in the crossing and union of the three in the place that is not. – Cecilia Vicuña
Cecilia Vicuña made her first documentary while residing in Colombia after the 1973 coup d’état in Chile. Through this fundamental inquiry—¿Qué es para usted la poesía? / What is poetry to you?—Vicuña unravels the role and substance of poetry in people’s lives. Speaking with school children, street performers, policemen, sex workers, fellow artists, and a scientist, the all-embracing character of poetry emerges—its transformative role in personal relations, as a basis of oral history and the revolutionary imagination. – Chris Borkowski
When Cecilia Vicuña came to Manhattan in 1980, she had no plans to stay—but for Vicuña, an artist in exile from Pinochet’s Chile, plans didn’t matter much. She had been in the city for less than a week when she crossed paths with an Argentine painter and moved into his unfinished loft in Tribeca. There were few street lights then, so the block turned black at night, and the ruins of an old overpass sliced through the neighborhood. She could smell the Hudson River—it was so close—but it was cut off by a junkyard of car parts and a wall of barbed wire. Still, she would visit the water every afternoon, peering through a crevice in the hulking mountain of metal. She needed to know the river survived, kept flowing, even though it was polluted, teeming with traffic, almost invisible from where she stood. This elemental friendship sustained her in the foreign city. – Carina del Valle Schorske
Read Cecilia Vicuña’s Desired Lines in the New York Times.
Read an article on Cecilia Vicuña’s recent work in the Guardian.
All stills, photographs, and artwork courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) and Cecilia Vicuña © Cecilia Vicuña. Screening co-presented with Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.