Lygia Clark, sculptor

Sculptor Lygia Clark (Brazil, 1920-1988) was one of Zélia’s pupils at Roberto Burle Marx’s workshop from 1947 on and at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio from 1954, and also took part of artistic meetings promoted by Zélia at her home, who taught her composition and painting at Burle Marx’s workshop – “when he wasn’t around I took the front desk”. One of her historic anecdotes tells that “Lygia first came and asked Roberto that she wished to learn pastels (N. Tr.: fried pasties), then he told her she’d better look for a cook”. Zélia was the one who oriented her to travel to Paris, in 1950, where Lygia studied with Arpad Szènes, Isaac Dobrinsky – Zélia’s own master at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, back in 1937-8 – and Fernand Léger.

Lygia Clark is one of the founders of the Frente Group (Front Group), in 1954, and undersigns in 1959 the NeoConcrete Manifesto, trying to unlink painting from its physical support, ending up imposing herself as a pioneer of participative art in Brazil with the steel series “Bichos” (Creatures), in 1960, having been awarded as National Best Sculpture at the VI São Paulo Biennial the next year.

In the Informal Abstractionism link, the then MNBA director, Paulo Herkenhoff, remembers in 2004 at the time of the artist’s centenary exhibition, the relationship between the series “Compositions in Inox Steel” of 1958-9 and lost in the 1970s to Clark’s “Bichos” series from 1960 on.