Cecilia Vicuña was born in Santiago de Chile (l948) at the foot of the Andes Mountains. A poet and artist, she studied art at the Universidad de Chile, in Santiago and at the Slade School of Fine Arts in London. She performs and exhibits her work widely in Europe, Latin America and the US. She is also a political activist and founding member of Tribu No, Santiago, l967 and of Artists for Democracy, London 1974. Since l980 she divides her time between New York and Latin America. In New York, she joined the Heresies editorial collective in l981, and created the “Palabra Sur” series to publish Latin American literature in translation in the US (l985) . Currently she is co-editing the Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry, forthcoming 2008.
Her work dwells at the intersection between art and poetry, in an intermediate zone she self defines as “precario” or “precarious,” a series of ephemeral installations in nature, cities and museums she has been creating since l966. For her, these works are a way of “hearing an ancient silence waiting to be heard.” In her oral performances, she weaves languages and audiences into new perceptions, in connection to the land and the ecological crises. She lectures and teaches workshops and seminars, for indigenous communities and universities, such as Naropa University, Denver University, SUNY Purchase, Festival de Medellín and Universidad de Buenos Aires.
She recently completed a performance tour of four Latin American countries, along with the American poet Jerome Rothenberg.
Her most recent exhibition is Otono/Autumn at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Santiago, 2007. Her art has also been exhibited at The Drawing Center and The Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), in New York, The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and The Whitecahel Art Gallery in London, and the IVAM in Valencia Spain, among many others.
Her work has been included in paradigmatic exhibitions such as INside the VISIBLE, ICA Boston, and WACK! Art en the Feminist Revolution at the MoCA in Los Angeles.
The author of 16 books, her poetry has been translated into several languages.
Her titles include: Palabrarmas, RIL 2005. I Tu, Tse-tse, 2004. Instan, Kelsey St Press, 2003. El Templo, Situations, 2001. Cloud-Net, Art in General, New York, l999. UL, Four Mapuche Poets, edited by Cecilia Vicuna, LARP, l998. QUIPOem, The Precarious, The Art & Poetry of Cecilia Vicuna, edited by Catherine de Zegher, Wesleyan University Press, l997. Unravelling Words & The Weaving of Water, edited by Eliot Weinberger, Graywolf Press, l992. Samara, Ed. Museo Rayo, Colombia l987. La Wik’una, Francisco Zegers Editor, Chile, l990. Palabrarmas, El Imaginero, Buenos Aires, l984. Precario/Precarious, Tanam Press, New York l983. Luxumei o el Traspie de la Doctrina, Editorial Oasis, Mexico, l983. SABORAMI, Beau Geste Press, Inglaterra, l973.