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ART – The Magnetized Space of Lygia Pape

'Untitled. Tecelar (Weavings)', 1958

Lygia Pape (1927-2004) was a leading Brazilian artist whose work brought together formal rigour and daring experimentation.

Pape was a founding member of the Neo-Concrete movement, which was dedicated to the inclusion of art into everyday life. Pape’s early work developed out of an interest in European abstraction, however she and her contemporaries went beyond simply adopting an international style, and started to draw on their own local situation.

Neo-Concretism is often seen as the beginning of contemporary art in Brazil, and Pape’s work – which focused on the coming together of aesthetic, ethical and political ideas – has formed an important part of Brazil’s artistic identity.

The Serpentine Gallery in London presents until February 19th 2012 work from throughout Pape’s career, including early drawings and poems from her Concrete period to her Neo-Concretist Livros (Books) and Caixas (Boxes) series, as well as ballets and performances such as Divisor (Divider) and O ovo (The Egg). Many of these works were created in response to the political repression growing in the late 1960s and reflected the artist’s strongly critical views on Brazil’s elite. Pape’s late works focused on the depiction of emotion and sensation, and have been described by Hélio Oiticica – a contemporary of Pape’s – as ‘permanently open seeds’.

Her approach can also be explained in her own words: “my concern is always invention. I always want to invent a new language that’s different for me and for others, too… I want to discover new things because, to me, art is a way of knowing the world…to see how the world is…of getting to know the world’.

Pape - 'Untitled', 1954–56
Of all of Pape’s works, the most renowned ones, those that best resume her artistic process, are probably “As TtÈis”, the first of which was conceived in 1979. “As TtÈias” are installations constructed by the geometric disposition of golden threads in space. They outline volumes, but they also draw lines that are almost invisible. “As TtÈias” have a strong impact by the discrete fineness of their disposition and the ways in which they reflect light in varying fashion depending on the spectator’s position.

To see these installations, rendez-vous at the Serpentine Gallery, in London. In the meantime you can already have a preview here:

Lygia Pape, TtéiaLygia Pape  - 2008 (Venice Bienalle) Golden thread in square forms

Check also this video Voici from Adrian Searle from The Guardian who discusses the Livro do Tempo (The Book of Time), an installation of 365 wooden objects:

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