Cecilia Vicuña


Cecilia Vicuña is a poet, visual artist and filmmaker born in Santiago de Chile. The author of twenty two poetry books, she exhibits and performs widely in Europe, Latin America and the United States.

A precursor of conceptual art in Latin America, her work deals with the interactions of language, earth, and textiles. An early practitioner of the improvisatory oral performance, her multidimensional, site specific 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' a series of transformative acts or 'metaphors in space' that bridge the gap between art and life, the ancestral and the avant-garde.

In Chile, she was the founder of 'Tribu No' in l967, which produced anonymous poetic actions in Santiago. Exiled in London, she co-founded 'Artists for Democracy' in l974 to oppose dictatorships in the Third World. She arrived in New York in l980 and joined the Heresies Collective that published Heresies: A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics. In 2010 she co-founded oysi.org, a website for artists/poets and oral cultures around the world.

Her art has been included in important historical surveys such as: artevida at the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, 2014. Dance/Draw, ICA Boston, 2011, onLINE, MoMA, New York, 2011, WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 2007. Inside the Visible, ICA, Boston & Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, l996. Her most recent Solo shows include: Artists for Democracy: The Archive of Cecilia Vicuña, Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, Chile 2014. Cecilia Vicuña, England & Co, London, 2013. Les Immémoriales, at Frac Lorraine, Metz, France. Aural, Galería Patricia Ready, Santiago, Chile, 2012. Water Writing: Anthological Exhibition, 1966-2009, Institute for Women & Art, Rutgers University. Her work is in the collection of the Tate in London, the Frac Lorraine in France, and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Chile.

Her most recent books are: Kuntur Ko, Hueso Records, Chile, 2015. El Zen Surado, Catalonia, Chile, 2013. Chanccani Quipu, Granary Books, New York, 2012. Spit Temple: Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña, Ugly Duckling Presse, New York, 2012, was Runner-up to the 2013 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Sabor A Mi, ChainLinks, 2011. Instan, Kelsey St. Press, 2002. The Precarious / QUIPOem: The Art and Poetry of Cecilia Vicuña, Wesleyan University Press, l997. She co-edited The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry, New York, 2009.

Her film Kon Kon, a documentary poem, was exhibited at the New York Summer Film Festival, The Native Spirit Film Festival in London, and the International Film Festival in Sao Paulo. Her film/poem Kon Kon Pi was included in the onLINE exhibition at MoMA in 2010.

Cecilia has been appointed Messenger Lecturer 2015, at Cornell University, N.Y.


She lives in New York and Chile. www.ceciliavicuna.org, www. konkon.cl.