Socrates Sculpture Park presents new immersive art installation this month

Socrates Sculpture Park
Socrates Sculpture Park presents new art installation open for viewing until August. (Photo by Katherine Abbott)

Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City will present a light and shadow installation never seen before in the U.S. this summer.

In collaboration with Projeto Hélio Oiticica and Americas Society, the piece uses an idea originally thought of by late Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica. The large-scale immersive environment at Socrates Sculpture Park uses Oiticica’s idea he had for Central Park in 1971, which was never carried out. “PN15” is intended to be a space for creativity and leisure, dubbed “creleisure” by the artist. 

“PN15” draws its inspiration from the city’s underground culture, and encourages visitors to walk through the circular structure. It features plants and image projections, displaying changes in opacity, light, shadow, framing and orientation. 

Socrates Sculpture Park
Inside ‘PN15’ at Socrates Sculpture Park. (Photo by Katherine Abbott)

“We are thrilled that Socrates Sculpture Park has taken the initiative to realize Hélio Oiticica’s ‘PN15’ for the first time,” said brothers of the artist, César and Claudio Oiticica. “Hélio knew the work may not be actualized during his lifetime so he left copious notes and a scale model. It feels appropriate that the project will see its first physical iteration in the city in which it was conceived. 

“The spirit of collaboration was always important to Hélio so we are excited that this participatory work will be activated through films and other performers during the exhibition.” 

Oiticica, who died in 1980, is regarded as one of Brazil’s leading contemporary artists of the 20th century — mainly gaining praise for his participatory and performative work from the 1960s. Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park Tamsin Dillon said that Oiticica was a pioneer and remains one of the most prolific contemporary artists of his time. 

“His ideas gave way to a new social and political movement, rooted in revolutionary artistic expression. Oiticica pushed the public toward acknowledging the realities of life in 1960s Brazil, and the relationship of South American immigrants to their experience in America,” Dillon said. “Fifty-one years after Oiticica lived and worked in New York City’s Lower East Side, the public will finally experience his vision for Central Park brought to life here at Socrates.”

Socrates will present various performances, discussions and video projections from community partners and artists to bring life to Oiticica’s vision. The video projection presents historic and recent videos by the artist.

Socrates Sculpture Park
Video projection in “PN15.” (Photo by Katherine Abbott)

Local artists and art appreciators will discuss their reactions to the installation of “PN15” during a panel called “Creleisure Talk: What’s Hidden in the Subterranean?” on Saturday, June 18.

Over the course of the exhibit, which ends Aug. 14, Brazilian and Queer artists will also be creating interactive performances and workshops within the space. This series kicks off Friday, May 10, from 5 to 7 p.m.

“PN15” is available for viewing on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Socrates Sculpture Park website.