Lygia Pape


Nova Friburgo, rj, 1927 – Rio de Janeiro, 2004

Having worked in painting, printmaking, sculpture, dance, design, film, performance, and installation, Lygia Pape was one of the most innovative artists of her time. She was a founding member of the Grupo Frente in 1954 and of neoconcretism a few years later. Interested in the interactive relations between art and its audience, the neoconcretists sought to transcend the formal remoteness of concretism and the constructivist strategies of the European avant-garde. Pape alongside Amilcar de Castro (1920–2002), Ferreira Gullar (b. 1930), Franz Weissmann (1911–2005), Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980), Lygia Clark (1920– 1988) and others investigated the social dimensions of art, a research that radically transformed Brazilian Art of the period, gaining visibility in the First Neoconcrete Exhibition and through the publication of the Neoconcrete Manifesto, which Pape and her colleagues signed in 1959, arguing for the freedom of experimentation and subjectivity in the work of art.

Pape’s Livro da criação [Book of Creation, 1959–60], in this regard, is considered a key work of early neoconcrete art. It consists of sixteen cardboard pages that unfold into abstract, geometrical relieves. Each page is accompanied by a title, poetically suggesting a representation to each of the abstract compositions. Telling the story of the creation of the world, including the recession of the waters and the invention of time and light, Pape originally invited the viewer to create meaning and a narrative by manipulating the pages. Similar to Ttéia 1C, also the Livro da criação is characterized by a contrast between the simple and handmade physical object and the sublime spirituality in its gesture. The Livor da criação is an open work, as much about the genesis of the Earth as it is about the process of creation through each and every viewer.

Jochen Volz