TrAIN Open Lecture | Michael Asbury | Hélio Oiticica: ‘What I do is Music’

Open Lecture


Hélio Oiticica: ‘What I do is Music’

Presentation by Michael Asbury

Towards the end of his life, Hélio Oiticica’s critical reassessment of his own creative and intellectual trajectory would articulate both popular and erudite cultural references, ranging from his experiences in the 1960s (the Penetrables, Parangolés and Tropicália), to new ideas and projects developed during the course of 1970s. Often recurring themes would arise from conversations with friends such as the poets Haroldo and Augusto de Campos, his admiration for experimental film makers (from Jack Smith to the Brazilian Marginal film-makers) and his enthusiasm for Rock music (The Rolling Stones and Jimmy Hendrix in particular).
One such conjunction of diverse cultural vectors would inform his somewhat mysterious claim ‘What I do is Music’.
This presentation will speculate on what the artist might have meant by such a statement through an exploration of interconnections between music, film, theatre, poetry and art.

Dr Michael Asbury is Reader in the Theory and History of Art at UAL and a founding member of TrAIN. He has written extensively on modern and contemporary art, was a contributor to Oiticica in London published by Tate and edited by Guy Brett and Luciano Figueiredo, as well as Helio Oiticica: Fios Soltos published by Perspectiva and edited by Paula Braga (both 2007). His PhD (UAL 2003) is entitled Hélio Oiticica: Politics and Ambivalence in 20th Century Brazillian Art.

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    Dr Michael Asbury

    TrAIN Member

    I was born in Teresópolis, in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro, the son of British missionaries. After twenty years in Brazil I came to England to study engineering but fortunately to myself (and others) changed course and went on to complete an MA in The Study of Contemporary Art at Liverpool University and a PhD in the History and Theory of Art at The London Institute (now UAL).
    Find out more about Dr Michael Asbury