Cecilia Vicuña: Arté Armate (Arm Yourself with Art)

Cecilia Vicuña: Arté Armate (Arm Yourself with Art)

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Cecilia Vicuña
Arté Armate (Arm Yourself with Art), 1974/2020
Digital print
24 x 18 inches
Edition of 50
 
Cecilia Vicuña’s artistic practice centers itself on notions of remembrance, narrative, and connectivity, with a distinct emphasis on the intertwining importance of cultural heritage, indigenous knowledge, and feminist politics. Arté armate belongs to Vicuña’s Palabrarmas series from 1974 and demonstrates the fluidity with which she approaches a practice that spans sculpture, installation, painting, poetry, and writing. Palabrarmas or “armed words” featured terms or phrases rarely associated, and conjoined to produce new meanings. Created in the wake of an exile that followed the Pinochet-led coup of 1973, this work features a double meaning that evokes political urgency, couched in playful cursive text and contrasting primary colors. Arté armate and the Palabrarmas series represent a significant but lesser-known chapter in Vicuña’s career in a stunning contraction of historical militancy, humor, and micro resistance.
 
Cecilia Vicuña was born in 1948 in Santiago, Chile. She received a BA from the National School of Fine Arts, University of Chile (1971) and received a British Council scholarship to pursue post-graduate study at the Slade School of Fine Arts, University College in London (1972-73). Vicuña has been the subject of many solo exhibitions, including at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (1973); Art in General, New York, NY (1998); Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY (2018); and Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2019). Her work has also been featured in group exhibitions, including The Decade Show, New Museum, New York, NY (1990); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (1997); WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2007); and Documenta, Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany (2017). Vicuña currently lives and works in New York, NY.

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