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  • Provenance

    Galerie Marie-Louise Wirth, Hochfelden; Private Collection, Kuesnacht-Zurich

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1959, Brazilian artist Lygia Clark was one of the founders of the Neo-Concretist group, an avant-garde movement also numbering Helio Oiticica, Lygia Pape and Ivan Serpa among its instigators. Strongly influenced by Marcel Duchamp and Dada, the Neo-Concretists defined art as subjective and organic, believing that an artwork should be manipulated by the spectator, and that during this interaction the object and person would become a single entity. Begun in 1959, Clark's Bicho pieces, of which the present lot is a strong example, synthesize the formal innovations of the Neo-Concretists and poignantly express their radical vision for the social role of art. By human interaction with these kinetic, geometric forms, art could now become a multi-sensory experience involving the spectator as an active participant.
    Clark began her artistic career as a geometric abstract painter but gradually became more interested in collapse notions of top and bottom, front and back, the traditional elements we take for granted in a two dimensional picture plane. These concerns eventually led her to to create the Bichos, which are essentially foldable, kinetic sculptures made of hinged aluminium sheets. In its flattened state, Bicho may look as if it could hang on the wall, but Clark intended such sculptures to be opened, folded and reconfigured by her audience into a range of different shapes - all of which can move, and none of which remain static. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to display Bicho, because there no determined front or back, inside or outside. This approach has been described as the death of the art object and, accordingly, Bicho can be interpreted as a visual representation of Lygia Clark's lifelong obsessions with the existential issues of life and death.
    "When we play with Bichos, we un-learn the traditional dialogue of artist/art and spectator, in which the spectator is synonymous with receptor. When the spectator or rather initiator plays with Bichos, he plays with life, he identifies himself with it, feeling it in its totality, participating in a unique and total moment, he exists. The gesture is not the gesture of the artist when he is creating, but it is the very dialogue of the work with spectator."
    (Lygia Clark, quoted in exhibition catalogue, Lygia Clark, 1998, p.122)

  • Artist Biography

    Lygia Clark

    Brazilian • 1920 - 1988

    Lygia Clark was a Brazilian artist associated with the Constructivist and Tropicalia movements. During the 1950s she was primarily known for her paintings and sculptures, but during the 1960s and 1970s she began to explore the idea of sensory perception. Along with other Brazilian artists including Helio Oiticica, she co-founded the Neo-Concrete movement based on the principle that art should be subjective and organic, liable to manipulation by the spectator. She sought new ways to engage the viewer ('the participant') with her work, which became increasingly abstract and holistic. Clark's focus on healing and art therapy redefined the relationship between art and the public, and has become a seminal point of reference for contemporary artists addressing the limitations of conventional art forms.

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15

Bicho

c. 1960
Aluminium.
Dimensions variable; approximately 55 x 36 x 36 cm (21 5/8 x 14 1/8 x 14 1/8 in).

Estimate
£180,000 - 220,000 

Sold for £367,250

BRIC Theme Sale

23-24 April 2010
London