Lygia Clark

  • Born 1920 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • Died 1988 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lygia Clark began studying art in 1947 with architect Roberto Burle Marx. Her early paintings are aligned with the mid-century Brazilian Constructivist tendencies. Clark’s understanding of form and its sensuous qualities intensified when she studied with Fernand Léger in Paris from 1950 to 1952. Upon her return to Brazil, she became part of Rio’s avant-garde Concretist Grupo Frente in 1954. She cofounded the Neoconcrete movement in 1959, becoming a leading figure with Hélio Oiticica. At that time she shifted her focus from the art object toward art as a participatory process. With her aluminum hinged “Critters” (1960) series, which won the sculpture prize at the 1961 Bienal de São Paulo, she began to invite the spectator to actively engage with her work. In 1968 she conceived her penetrable installation The House Is the Body for the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro). That same year she moved to Paris where, from 1972, she spent several years teaching at the Sorbonne and developing therapeutic methods of engagement with objects. In 1976, Clark retuned to Brazil. For about a decade she abandoned art completely for therapeutic techniques. Clark’s greatest legacy lies in stretching the potential of art toward a bodily and mindful experience.

Artworks by Lygia Clark in the exhibition