Dreaming Water. A Retrospective of the Future (1964–...) is the most encompassing anthological exhibition ever held of the work of poet, visual artist, and feminist activist Cecilia Vicuña (Santiago, 1948). Curated by Miguel A. López, the show reads Vicuña’s work from a South American perspective. The exhibition revisits sixty years of Vicuña’s art, that is, her work from 1964 to the present. Emphasis is placed on her work’s ties to Chile, Argentina, the Andes, the living memory of pre-Columbian textiles, feminist struggles and eroticism, and Indigenous communities’ demands for self-determination.
The over two hundred works on exhibit include paintings, drawings, silkscreens, collages, textiles, videos, photographs, installations, book-objects, documents, and sound performances produced throughout the Americas and Europe. Dreaming Water reminds us of Vicuña’s commitment to the struggles of the working class, human rights, and opposition to devastation, whatever shape it may take.
Since the nineteen-sixties, Vicuña’s visionary work has honored the balance and reciprocity of the natural world rather than violently meddle with or harm it. Her work values art’s ritual dimension, its medicinal quality and ability to heal. Her cyclical understanding of the creative act is evident in works that take the form of future-looking actions: they incite further creative acts, most of them collective in nature.
The exhibition’s title invites us to change our relationship with the earth. “Without humidity there is no humanity,” Vicuña reminds us. Her creations attest not only to the past but also—indeed mostly—to an open and living future in the making.