Cecilia Vicuña

Cecilia Vicuña. Photograph by Joe Leavenworth.

Cecilia Vicuña is a poet, visual artist and filmmaker born in Santiago de Chile. The author of twenty books of poetry, she exhibits and performs widely in Europe, Latin America and the United States. Her multidimensional works begin as a poem, an image or a line that morphs into a film, a song, a sculpture or a collective performance. She calls this impermanent, participatory work “lo precario” (the precarious), transformative acts or “metaphors in space” which bridge the gap between art and life, the ancestral and the avant-garde. The precarios began in the 60s in Chile, as unannounced works that disappeared without a trace.

In Chile, she founded the Tribu No in 1967, which produced anonymous poetic actions throughout the city. Exiled in London, she co-founded Artists for Democracy in 1974 to oppose dictatorships in the Third World. In 1975 she moved to Bogotá, Colombia. She arrived in New York in 1980 and was invited to join the Heresies Collective that published Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics.

Chain Links just reprinted her first book Sabor a Mí, originally published in England in 1973. Chanccani Quipu, a quipu edition of 32 copies, is forthcoming from Granary Books in 2012. Spit Temple, Selected Oral Performances of Cecilia Vicuña, is also forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012. Her film/poem Kon Kon Pi was included in the ON LINE exhibition at MoMA in 2010. “Soy Yos”: Antología l966-2006 was published by Lom Ediciones, Chile in 2011. She co-edited The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry (2009) and co-founded oysi.org, a wiki website for the oral cultures and poetries of the world.

Photograph by Joe Leavenworth.
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