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    In this essay, the British curator and art critic Guy Brett traces the linkage between the different phases that made up the artistic career of Brazilian artist Lygia Clark. From her Neo-Constructivist paintings and sculptures made in the late 1950s to the articulated objects of the 1960s, and from the participatory experiences based on sensory perception that she organized in the 1970s to, finally, her practice of psychotherapy and healing that took place in the 1980s, Brett skillfully interprets the different chapters in Clark’s life as experiments that change our perception of what an art object is and what it can accomplish for the spectator. He contextualizes in ingenious ways the development of Clark’s works beginning with the Modernist program of the 1920s in Brazil, which she surely inherited, leading up to the avant-garde movements and ideas that flourished in the 1950s. Writing about the general importance of looking carefully and closely at Lygia Clark’s work, Brett mentions that “she, like her contemporary [Hélio] Oiticica, embodies an intricate and reciprocal relationship between the international and the local in culture which resulted in an important reorientation of the avant-garde.”

    This document is part of The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.



    The London-based art critic and curator, Guy Brett (born 1942), played a major role in introducing a generation of Brazilian Concrete and Neo-Concrete artists to European and American audiences. (For other examples of his writings, consult documents #1232285 and #1232349.) A case in point is this essay published in Art in America in 1994 about the artistic career of Lygia Clark (1920–1988). As Brett declares in his opening lines, before this essay Clark had not been introduced to American audiences. In fact, this is one of the few essays that, by the mid-1990s, had been published in English about Clark’s work (see also #1232662). Not long after this article was printed, the journal October published a special Lygia Clark dossier edited by Yve-Alain Bois in 1994.


    Some of the works and series discussed in this essay include: the Borrachas [Rubber Grub] series, 1960s; the Bichos [Critters, translated here as Animals] series, 1960s; Ar e pedra [Air and Stone], 1966; Máscara sensorial [Sensorial Hood], 1967; O eu e o tu: roupa/corpo/roupa [The I and the You: Clothing/Body/Clothing], 1967; Baba antropofágica [Anthropophagous Drool], 1973; and the “Relational Objects” she used in her psychotherapy sessions starting in the mid-1970s. Furthermore, the essay is illustrated with black and white as well as color photographs of some of her most important works, including an installation view of the special room dedicated to her oeuvre at the XXXIV Venice Biennial in 1968. (For a document related to the Brazilian participation in this exhibition, see #1232444.)