Cecilia Vicuña, El Vaso de Leche, Bogotá l979, photo: Oscar Monsalve
Cecilia Vicuña
El Vaso de Leche

The politically engaged works of the Chilean artist and poet Cecília Vicuña’s (*1948, Chile) are tapestries of personal, national and ecological references. Weaving together different thematic threads is at the core of many of Vicuña’s performative actions. Deeply influenced by the indigenous people of the Andes, she frequently works with threads, textiles and texts. These are also symbols of female work and domesticity – another key subject addressed in Vicuña’s art. In 1966, even before graduating from the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes de Chile, she began creating sculptural-performative interventions suggestively called “Precarious” (precarious works). A “Precarious” is an assemblage of found materials – wood sticks, leaves, stones, feathers, threads, shells, plastic and bones – which she arranges and displays in the landscape. As the name suggests, these works rapidly deteriorate and are reabsorbed by the environment. In 1972-73 (1973 being the year when the Popular Unity coalition of President Salvador Allende was overthrown by General Pinochet’s military coup), Vicuña exhibited 400 “Precarious” works as an act of political and cultural resistance: “Politically, they stand for socialism, magically they help the liberation struggle, and aesthetically they are as beautiful as they can be to comfort the soul and give strength.”

In 1979, Cecília Vicuña described the performance El Vaso de Leche (The Glass of Milk) in the following: “It was estimated that 1,920 children had died in Bogotá from drinking contaminated milk. A company had added paint and water to the milk in order to make more money. To protest the ‘milk crime’ I announced the spilling of a glass of milk in front of the residence of the liberator Simón Bolivar. People gathered, I spilled the glass. This work was performed by invitation of CADA (Colectivo de Acciones de Arte from Chile) as part of their piece Not to Die of Hunger in Art, performed in Santiago.” (Cecília Vicuña) This film combines documentary material, such as photographs, press clippings and drawings, with a re-creation of the original performance.

Courtesy Cecilia Vicuña


Document media
Video, colour, silent, English subtitles, 3:20 min

Issue date
1979/2008

Tags
activism, health/illness, resistance, vulnerability

Archive Signature
VIC 1
A
Ebtisam Abdulaziz
Marina Abramović
Helena Almeida
Eleanor Antin
Arahmaiani
Malin Arnell
Oreet Ashery
Augusta Atla
Margarita Azurdia
B
Antonia Baehr
Maja Bajević
Anne Bean
Anat Ben-David
Renate Bertlmann
Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz
Nisrine Boukhari
Marijs Boulogne
Tania Bruguera
Nancy Buchanan
Maris Bustamante
C
Cabello / Carceller
Shirley Cameron/ Monica Ross/ Evelyn Silver
Graciela Carnevale
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Helen Chadwick
Chicks on Speed
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Mary Coble
Colette
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D
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Carola Dertnig
Disband
Ines Doujak
Orshi Drozdik
Yingmei Duan
Kirsten Dufour
E
Diamela Eltit
Rose English
VALIE EXPORT
F
F.F.F.F.
Factory of Found Clothes
Esther Ferrer
Les filles Föllen
Rose Finn-Kelcey
Angelika Fojtuch
Simone Forti
Coco Fusco
G
(e.) Twin Gabriel
Regina José Galindo
Anna Bella Geiger
Rimma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin
Patrycja German
Ghazel
Kate Gilmore
Trine Mee Sook Gleerup
H
Mona Hatoum
Lynn Hershman
High Heel Sisters
María Teresa Hincapié
Nan Hoover
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Icelandic Love Corporation - Gjörningaklúbburinn
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Sanja Iveković
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Elżbieta Jabłońska
Françoise Janicot
Birgit Jürgenssen
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Kanonklubben
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Katarzyna Kozyra
Christina Kubisch
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Verena Kyselka
L
Nicola L
Latifa Laâbissi
Leslie Labowitz
Leslie Labowitz & Suzanne Lacy
Suzanne Lacy
Katalin Ladik
Sigalit Landau
Klara Lidén
Kalup Linzy
Natalia LL
Léa Lublin
M
Jumana Manna
Manon
MaraM
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Muda Mathis
Dóra Maurer
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Narcissister
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Paulina Ołowska & Lucy McKenzie
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ORLAN
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Gina Pane
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R
Yvonne Rainer
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S
Raeda Saadeh
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Stefanie Seibold & Teresa María Díaz Nerio
Miriam Sharon
Bonnie Ora Sherk
Barbara T. Smith
Cornelia Sollfrank
Antonieta Sosa
Spiderwoman Theater
Annie M. Sprinkle
Gabriele Stötzer
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Melati Suryodarmo
Anna Szwajgier/ Zorka Wollny
T
Jinoos Taghizadeh
Milica Tomić
Mare Tralla
Teresa Tyszkiewicz
U
Mierle Laderman Ukeles
V
Valie Export Society
Cecilia Vicuña
W
The Waitresses
Julita Wójcik
Faith Wilding
Hannah Wilke
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Y
Nil Yalter
Yeni & Nan