Creature - In Itself

ArtistLygia CLARK
Material/ Techniquealuminum
Size/ DurationH42 × W50 × D33cm
Copyright Notice© “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association
Year of acquisition/ donation2002
DescriptionBorn in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 1920. Died in Rio de Janeiro in 1988.

From 1950 to ’51, Lygia Clark lived in Paris, where she studied under Árpád SZENÈS. After returning to Brazil she became a member along with Hélio OITICICA and Lygia PAPE of the Brazilian Neo-Concrete-Movement (“Neo-Concretismo”), critically adopting European abstraction. Developing from the reductionist character of modernism towards an interest in the physical body, she began creating work that seemed to experiment with the senses of the viewers, eventually turning to producing pieces in which interior and exterior reverse, like the Moebius strip and clothing. She came to be recognized as one of Brazil’s foremost contemporary artists, receiving the prize for the Best National Sculpture at the São Paulo Biennial in 1961 for her “Creature” series.

Clark began her “Creature” series around 1960. The pieces are made of aluminum panels that move like hinges, enabling the viewer to manipulate them to create different three-dimensional forms. The title “Creature” is derived from their organic shapes and spine-like hinges. Due to the intricate way in which the pieces are hinged, there are restrictions on the movement of the panels, meaning the viewer cannot make forms completely freely. This gives rise to an interactive relationship of action and reaction between the work and the viewer. To the viewer, the work is not something that exists externally but rather something that exists inside them. Here, creating something that the viewer interacts with and handles is a means of encouraging them to internalize the work.