Lygia Pape - Latin America New York Thursday, May 29, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon

  • Catalogue Essay

    According to art critic Ronaldo Brito, Lygia Pape is considered along with Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark to have constituted the “disruptive” side of the Neo-Concrete Movement, taking the geometric vocabulary into a more intimate relationship with the spectators by inviting their active participation. However, like Oiticica, Pape never completely abandoned the tenets of Neo-Constructivist art. From the 1960s onwards, following the dissolution of the Neo-Concrete movement (in which she was a founding member), Pape worked on several “creative fronts” ranging from the production of “abject” objects, such as the Caixa de Baratas (Cockroach Box), Divisor (Divider), which relied on a large group of participants in constituting the work, to experimental or underground film making. The Night and Day Book is an important testament to the fact that despite being engaged in these new and diverse approaches to making art, Pape had not necessarily rejected the constructivist vocabulary of her formative years, but rather incorporated it into her overall creative process.

    At the occasion of her solo exhibition held at Galeria André Millan in 2003, Lygia Pape spoke to Fabio Cypriano, the art critic for the newspaper Folha de São Paulo, about her Night and Day Book being part of a larger series of works that emphasize the strong relation that her work possesses with literature. The critic provides the reader some examples of these, such as the Book of Creation (1959/60), the Book of Architecture (1959/60), and the Book of Time (1960/61). Pape nevertheless quickly added that as opposed to the Book of Creation, for which she created a piece or element of the work each day, with The Night and Day Book she allowed herself the most liberty, starting and stopping the production several times over the course of several years, while always having a clear idea of the precise way she intended the final outcome to be.

    The dates are significant here, as they demonstrate how Pape maintained her Neo-Concrete concerns well beyond the formal dissolution of the group. Pape’s series of works entitled Books are closely related to the notion of Neo-Concrete poetry given their seriality, suggesting a form of narrative despite the fact that they are solely constituted by different arrangements of abstract geometric forms.

    There is an interesting relation here with Ferreira Gullar’s poetic production, which combined geometric forms that could be manipulated by the viewer/reader and words that would be revealed through this process. Pape’s Books however, did not reveal “meaning” through manipulation, but rather invited a relationship between narration and the linear disposition of such forms. For Cypriano, at the occasion of her 2003 exhibition, the constructivist rigor that Pape expressed in her Night and Day Book bridged the early stages of her career, when she was involved with concrete art during the 1950s, through to her subsequent participation in the Neo-Concrete Movement, breaking away from the traditional supports such as painting, sculpture, poem or book.

  • Artist Biography

    Lygia Pape

    Brazilian • 1927 - 2004

    Lygia Pape's diverse oeuvre includes sculpture, engraving, performance and filmmaking. Along with Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, Pape was a signatory of the Brazilian Neo-Concrete manifesto, which promoted the ideal that art was not a static representation but rather organic and experiential.  

    Pape's oeuvre was greatly informed by the notion that art should be activated by the viewer. This tenant is best represented in the artist's 1959 Livro da Criacão (Book of Creation), in which the artist utilized geometric shapes to create 16 wood constructions, or "pages," with abstract imagery — each signifying a moment in the creation of the world. Each page is accompanied by poetic lyrics and the viewer was encouraged to touch the books and read the poetry aloud.

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Twelve Elements from The Night and Day Book (Book of Light)

acrylic and tempera on wood constructions
each 6 1/4 x 6 1/4 x 0 5/8 in. (16 x 16 x 1.5 cm.)
Each signed "Pape" on the reverse.

$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $461,000

Contact Specialist
Laura González
Head of Latin America Sale
+1 212 940 1216

Latin America

New York Auction 29 May 2014 4pm