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CALL ME HELIUM

Rio de Janeiro | Nova York | Rio de Janeiro > 1974 | 2014

When things get too heavy, just call me helium, the lightest known gas to man. This sentence, by rock musician Jimi Hendrix, was the starting point of the experimental work Call me Helium, idealised in 1974 by the brothers Andreas and Thomas Valentin and proposed as a tribute to their friend, Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980), who lived in New York at the time.

Their dialogue through letters and telephone calls, resulted in a collaborative work to be executed in Rio de Janeiro that year: a red balloon, three meters in diameter, inflated with helium gas, hovering over the Pier of Ipanema beach with the sentence Call me Helium written on it. It would be as if Oiticica, through his remote participation, materialised himself there.

Exactly forty years later, the work is realised in the center of Rio de Janeiro. The balloon is hoisted in the square of Centro Cultural Correios, reconfiguring itself in this new space. The authors, who had a long and close relationship with the artist, revive it and enrich it with an exhibition of photographs, films, letters, notes, and documents of that period. They also added a free course on Oiticica and educational activities, as well as a catalogue and a website which will both remain accessible after the end of the event.

Correios, the Brazilian Post, joins in paying tribute to the great artist whose recognition, unfortunately, was only consolidated after his untimely death. It is in this concept of a living art, with no spatial or temporal boundaries, that the company associates its brand with the realisation of this project, enabling the audience – through an ephemeral balloon – to get better acquainted with the work of Hélio Oiticica. Welcome!

                                                            Centro Cultural Correios do Rio de Janeiro

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Other Texts

CALL ME HELIUM CALL ME HELIUM
Andreas and Thomas Valentin

INVENTION, EXPERIMENTATION, PROPOSITION: THE GENESIS OF A WORK Andreas Valentin
Andreas Valentin

LOFT 4: A CAVE IN THE HEIGHTS Silviano Santiago
Silviano Santiago

HÉLIO OITICICA AND HIS PARTNERS: CHECKS AND BALANCES Frederico Coelho
Frederico Coelho