The idea of creating Projeto Hélio Oiticica came about on March 23, 1980, the day after the artist died, when the art community of Rio gathered, under the leadership of art critic Mário Pedrosa, to express its dismay and great concern for what the loss and sudden interruption of such an original creative process would represent for Brazilian culture. This meeting of artists, poets, writers, musicians, film-makers and intellectuals was an important demonstration of the Brazilian art community’s concern for the destiny of Oiticica’s work. There was also much discussion over the important role played by such vital Brazilian art movements as Grupo Frente (1954-1956) and Neoconcretism (1959-1961) in which Hélio Oiticica was one of the key figures and through which he developed his phenomenal expression.

Almost a year later, Hélio´s two brothers, César and Cláudio Oiticica, established the foundation Projeto Hélio Oiticica inviting a group of the artist’s friends who were well acquainted with his work to participate as volunteers in the preservation and promotion of Oiticica’s entire oeuvre, made between 1955 and 1980. This, when applied the works of Oiticica, meant following the structural orders and concepts contained in his oeuvres, not simply adopting the usual methods employed museums for conservation. Unconventional, radical and highly innovative, Oiticica’s work rebelled against traditional art values to such an extent that today his contributions continue to be a vibrant stimulus for the discussion and evaluation of the nature of contemporary art in general. Oiticica’s presence always proved disconcerting for the Brazilian cultural scene and his proposals and experiments still refuse to compromise themselves to art labels or established values.

To show his work is always a challenge. It demands careful attention to the way that it is displayed or reconstructed. It was a criteria of its own that can be found in the vast amount of writings, plans, sketches, notebooks, photographs and original pieces which, for the most part, Oiticica never made public. Throughout our existence as a non-profit institution it has been our task to preserve and establish a comprehensive organization of Oiticica’s complete oeuvre and to show it to the public whenever possible, as well as to respond to the growing demand for information in Brazil and abroad. Our effort have been concentrated on restoring and cataloguing pieces, documentating a visual and written chronology of the works and archiving Oiticica’s writings. We seek to participate in both national and international exhibitions, to publish the writings of Oiticica and to provide a complete resource of information for reference and study. Since Oiticica’s death in 1980, his work has been shown, with the participation of Projeto Hélio Oiticica, in personal and group exhibitions.