Cecilia Vicuña. Seehearing the Enlightened Failure

Cecilia Vicuña, Quipu menstrual, 2019

Cecilia Vicuña, Quipu menstrual, 2019. Picture: Visit to installation ‘Cecilia Vicuña, una exposición retrospectiva’, 2019, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam.


Cecilia Vicuña. Seehearing the Enlightened Failure brings together over a hundred works by poet, visual artist, and activist Cecilia Vicuña. Since the 1960s, the artist has constituted a radical perspective on the relationship between art and politics through her writing and art making. She has done so in different parts of the world, basing herself in the United States since 1980, having left her native Chile for London in 1973.

The 1973 military coup in Chile shaped the structures of feeling in Vicuña’s formative years, as it did for an entire nation. In many ways, her work has been, and continues to be, triggered and inspired by political resistance. Feminist and sociological methods, as well as indigenous culture and natural materials imbue her art practice. For decades, she has developed a varied and multidisciplinary body of work, which at times relies on words, images, environments, and a combination of languages, mediums, and techniques.

For this exhibition retrospective developed by guest curator Miguel A. López, and co-presented by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, MUAC, a number of artworks, documents, and ephemera are presented for the first time. Often drawing from personal experience, here showcased is Vicuña’s long-standing engagement with topics ranging from eroticism, colonial legacies, and liberation struggles, to collective joy, indigenous thinking, and environmental devastation.

Exhibition co-presented by formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, and CA2M Centro Arte Dos de Mayo.

Co-organised by
Logo Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam
With the support of
kunstinstituut Melly
Ministerio de las Culturas, las Artes y el Patrimonio de Chile