Lygia Clark (Belo Horizonte, 1920 - Rio de Janeiro, 1988) began
her art studies in 1947 in Rio de Janeiro, under the guidance of
Roberto Burle Marx and Zélia Salgado. In 1950, Clark travels
to Paris, where she studied with Arpad Szènes, Dobrinsky
and Fernand Léger. During this period, the artist is devoted
to studies , oils and drawings of stairs and her children as subjects.
After her first solo exhibition at the Institut Endoplastique in
Paris in 1952, the artist returns to Rio de Janeiro and exposes
at the Ministry of Education and Culture.
Lygia Clark is one of the founders of the Grupo Frente, in 1954,
dedicating herself to the study of space and the materiality of
rhythm, she joins Decius Vieira, Rubem Ludolf, Palatnik, João
José da Costa, among others, and presents her "Modulated
Surfaces”, 1955-57 and "Planes on Modulated Surfaces”,
1956-58. These series commuted the painting away from the claustrophobic
space of the frame. This is what Lygia wanted as line-light, as
a module builder plan. Each geometric figure is projected beyond
the limits of support, increasing the extent of their areas. Lygia
is still active in 1954 with the series "Compositions",
the Venice Biennale - which will be repeated in 1968 when she is
invited to exhibit in a special room, all his artistic career to
In 1959, integrates I Neoconcrete Art Exhibition, signing the Neoconcrete
Manifest alongside Amilcar de Castro, Gullar, Franz Weissmann, Lygia
Pape, Reynaldo Jardim and Theon Spanudis. Clark proposes with her
work that the painting no longer holds in its traditional form.
Search new flights. In the "Units”, 1959, frame and "pictorial
space" are confused, one invading the other, when Clark paints
the frame of the screen color. This is what the artist calls "Organic
Line" in 1954: the area also expands on the screen, separating
one space, gathering and maintaining it as a whole.
The works wants to win the space. Working with the painting in the
construction of new support for the object. These new propositions
are born "Cocoons”, 1959. Made of metal, the material
allows the plan to be doubled, assuming a three-dimensional search
by the plan, leaving it closer to the space in the world. In 1960,
Lygia created the series "Creatures" sculptures, made
of aluminum, hinged, which promote interaction between the different
parts that make up your "body". The viewer, now transformed
into participant, is invited to discover the many ways that this
open structure offers, manipulating their metal parts. With this
series, Clark became a pioneer in participatory art in the world.
In 1961, won the award for best sculpture at the Sixth National
Biennial of Sao Paulo, with the "Creatures".
Lygia Clark leaves out the hard material (wood), through the flexible
metal of Creatures, and reaches the rubber in “Soft Work”,
1964. The transfer of power from the artist to the proposer, has
a new stage in "Walking”, 1964. Cut the ribbon meant,
beyond the question of "poetics transfer” a disconnection
from the tradition of concrete art as the "Tripartite Unity,
1948-49" by Max Bill, constructivist heritage icon in Brazil,
was made symbolically a Moebius strip. This tape distorted in “
Soft Work" is now cut in "Walking". It was an extreme
situation and early course of a new paradigm in the Brazilian Visual
Arts. The object was no longer outside the body, but it was the
very "body" that interested Lygia.
The trajectory of Lygia Clark makes it , a timeless artist and not
a very well defined in the History of Art. Both she and her works
are fleeing categories or situations that can't be easily packed,
Lygia establishes a link with life, and we see this new state in
her "Sensory Objects”, 1966-1968": a proposal to
use objects of everyday life ( water, seashells, rubber and seeds),
already points in the work of Lygia, for example, an intention of
avoiding the place the viewer within the art institution, and bring
it to a state where the world is shaped, becomes be changing.
In 1968 presents for the first time at MAM-RJ, "The House is
the Body", an installation of eight meters, which allows the
passage of persons on the inside, so they have a sense of penetration,
ovulation, and germination and expulsion of the living. That same
year, Lygia moved to Paris. The body desexualized is presented in
the series "The I and the You: Cloth-Body-Cloth", 1967.
A man and a woman wearing heavy plastic-coated uniforms and helmets
that cover their eyes: the man wears the suit of the woman, and
she, the man. By touching each other, are found cavities. Openings
in the form of zippers, which allow tactile exploration, recognition
of the body: "The closures are to me like scars of the body,"
say the artist in her diary.
In 1972 she was invited to teach a course on gestural communication
at the Sorbonne. Her classes were real collective experiences anchored
in the manipulation of the senses, transforming these young people
into objects of their own sensations. It was from this time, the
propositions "Biological Arquitetures”, 1969, "Elastic
Net”, 1974, "Cannibalistic Slobber", 1973 and "Relaxation",
1974. They attempt to integrate art and life, incorporating the
creativity of others and giving the proposer support for a voice.
In 1976, Lygia Clark went back to Rio de Janeiro definitely. Then
put aside, the experience with groups and enter a new era for therapeutic
purposes, with an individual approach to each person, using the
"Relational Objects": the duality of these objects (light
/ heavy, soft / hard, full / empty), Lygia deals with the "memory
files" of their patients, their fears and weaknesses through
the sensory. It is not limited to the aesthetic field, but especially
to cross the territory of art. Lygia Clark moves out of the system
which art is an integral part, because her attitude embodies, above
all, an exercise for life. As Lygia states:
"If the person, after doing the series of things that I give,
she can live in a more freely way , using the body in a more sensual
and express themselves better, love better, eat better, that interests
me at the bottom as a result much more than the thing itself that
I propose to you“ (See The World of Lygia Clark, 1973, film
directed by Eduardo Clark, PLUG Productions).
In 1981, Lygia gradually decreases the pace of her activities. In
1983 is published as a limited edition of 24 copies of the "Artwork
Book”, a real open work that is accompanied by texts written
by the artist and manipulable structures, the trajectory of Lygia's
work since its first creations to the final neoconcrete phase. In
1986, takes place in the Imperial Palace of Rio de Janeiro, the
IX Hall of Plastic Arts, with a special room dedicated to Helio
Oiticica and Lygia Clark. The exhibition is the only major retrospective
devoted to Lygia Clark still in artistic activity. In April 1988,
Lygia Clark died.
Lygia Clark today
We live in a world media. We gradually loose first person contact
with the object world. We changed the channel, we talk on a cell
phone and withdraw money by powerful invisible forces.
The virtual world without limits, is taking the place of the physical
world in our lives. We work, we live and play through screens, interfaces
that tell us what to do and guide us where we want to reach.
Disturbed by the speed of this new world, we share our crazy through
networks and social media, we seek to force the invisible power
of the divine - religions, sects, rituals - and wake up every day
due to information which is growing continuously.
The invisible forces of the online world can bring us great freedom
(virtual), but can also oppress us: we live in fear of invisible
enemies alike: Virus (computer or otherwise), bacteria, robbers,
terrorists. We live in a safe locked, maintaining contact with the
entire planet for windows machines.
Overwhelmed, afraid and confused, we need to express ourselves:
we shouted war cries from hanks, we show in the webcams, we talk
about ourselves for hours in chat rooms and transform the body into
a billboard for our opinions.
Subtly crazy, look at instant relief in mystical drink as Daime,
abused drugs, licit or not, and frenzied dance to the beat of drums
(Samba, Candomble, Afroreggae, Stomp).
We paint our face (street demonstrations, sports arenas, carnival)
Trying to simulate the life of the ancestors, who lived in a more
simple, easy world to understand: enough food and protect the tribe.
That is, the primitive, today, gives us relief.
Lygia knew it. Her thoughts kept sealed this secret: the art had
to be at the service of the liberation of the human being that now
exists in cells, communities, profiles online.
Truly free, Lygia was ahead of its time, today is clear. Shared
by transforming the body of another in the object of her art long
before Web 2.0, where the agenda is to share.
The self imposed non-artist gave the art object in the hand of his
interlocutor, as in "Walking," and stated that "art
is his act." She founded the participatory art, interactive
and shared since then.
Lygia unlocked the gates of the unconscious through her art and
offered it as transcendental artistic expression. Sense objects
and relational, among many other artifacts, opened a direct channel
with the original interior (self, in the jargon of Lygia), creating
a state of self-knowledge and revealing, so liberating.
The World of Lygia Clark today is the antidote to the poison of
modernity. Makes the actual physical contact the revelation of self
and other. It's cathartic and legitimate than a thousand words spoken
in the classical psychoanalytic therapy. It's human contact that
we seek shelter in the virtual world and, in fact, there we dont
Reset Lygia Clark is the restart world. Reset the world is restart