Power 100

Most influential people in 2022 in the contemporary artworld


Cecilia Vicuña

Artist - Golden Lion-winning painter, sculptor and poet

29 in 2022

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Photo: William Jess Laird

When Vicuña lived in exile in Bogotá during the late 1970s, and then in New York, things were often so hard that she had trouble affording food. But she and a band of anticapitalist, proto-ecofeminist, misfit friends were committed to the idea that art and poetry could offer political resistance, even if indirectly, and that was its own sustenance. This year she returned to Colombia for one of the multitude of retrospectives she has been offered of late. The MAMU exhibition was the amuse-bouche to a year that also featured a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; a star turn at the Venice Biennale (where she received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement); and the annual commission by Tate Modern to fill the London institution’s Turbine Hall. As the links between the climate emergency, extractivist capitalism and a patriarchal society come to the fore, so too has Vicuña’s unique blend of sculpture, Land art, painting and word play.

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