Lygia Clark

Brazil, 1920


Lygia Clark (Belo Horizonte, October 23, 1920 – Rio de Janeiro, April 25, 1988) was a Brazilian artist best known for her painting and installation work. She was often associated with the Brazilian Constructivist movements of the mid-20th century and the Tropicalia movement. Even with the changes in how she approached her artwork, she did not stray far from her Constructivist roots. Along with Brazilian artists Hélio Oiticica, Ivan Serpa, and Lygia Pape, Clark co-founded the Neo-Concretist art movement. The Neo-Concretists believed that art ought to be subjective and organic. Throughout her career trajectory, Clark discovered ways for museum goers (who would later be referred to as "participants") to interact with her art works. She sought to redefine the relationship between art and society. Clark's works dealt with inner life and feelings. In 1920, Lygia Clark was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais Brazil. Clark became an artist in 1947. In this year, she moved to Rio de Janeiro to study with Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. Between 1950-52, she studied with Léger and Arpad Szenes in Paris. In 1953, she became one of the founding members of Rio's Frente group of artists. In 1957, Clark participated in Rio de Janeiro's first National Concrete Art Exhibition. This would be one of Clark's frequent trips to Brazil in order to exhibit her artwork. In the first decade of her career, Clark devoted her time to painting and sculpture. In the early 1970s, Clark taught art at the Sorbonne. During this time, Clark also explored the idea of sensory perception through her art. Her art became a multisensory experience in which the spectator became an active participant. Between 1979 and 1988, Clark moved more toward art therapy than actually creating new works. She used her art therapy to treat psychotic and mildly disturbed patients. Clark returned to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1977. In 1988, she died of a heart attack in her home. Some critics say her artwork pre-aged the modern digital information era. Her later works were more abstract and holistic with a focus on psychotherapy and healing. During the early part of Clark's career, she focused on creating small monochromatic paintings which were done in black, gray, and white. She would then move on to create neo-constructivist sculptures. During the 1960s, her work became more conceptual and she used soft objects that could be manipulated by the art spectator. Clark later moved on to co-found the Neo-Concretist movement with fellow Brazilian Hélio Oiticica. Throughout her career, Clark's art would evolve as if she had unanswered questions about her art's effect on spectators. One of her goals, through her artwork, was to answer all of her questions. The purpose of her art was to appeal to the average, everyday person, not just the bourgeois crowd. As previously mentioned, Clark and Oiticica co-founded the Neo-Concretist movement. The Neo-Concretists believed that art was subjective and organic. They believed that an artwork should be manipulated by the spectator. The Neo-Concretists believed that the object and person should become a single entity. They utilized 3-dimensional moveable figures so that the spectator, in essence, becomes the artist. Neo-Concretists looked to push the limits of what art represented. The art is the actual process of doing. It is during this interaction that the spectator truly experiences what the art work means. In the late 1950s, Clark and Oiticica fused modern European geometric abstraction art with a Brazilian cultural flavor. The Brazilian Neo-Concretist movement borrowed their artistic ideas from Max Bill who was the director of the Ulm Superior School of Form in Germany during the early 1950s. One of the goals of this newest artistic group was to create worldly, modern art as opposed to the provincial style currently popular in Brazil. The Neo-Concretists wanted art to be intuitive, yet expressive and subjective. Duri

Artworks by Lygia Clark