Lygia Pape


Born in 1927 in Nova Friburgo (Brazil), died in 2004

In the 1960s, Brazilian avant-garde artist Lygia Pape was interested in matters related to materials. She pursued this line of research until her death. New House, in particular, brings light, destruction and the encroachment of nature into contention with each other.
A pioneering work of performative,
participatory and sensory art intimately linked to social issues, O Ovo had participants tear thin sheets of coloured paper or plastic wrapped around wooden cubes.

Inhabitants of Rio of all social classes were brought together under a large white cloth by Lygia Pape in Divisor. Her action amounted to weaving a space as a creative process in order to establish new relationships. In keeping with this historic work in the collection of the Villeurbanne Institut d’Art Contemporain, a programme of performances has been worked out, which includes the weekend of 14 & 15 October 2017, in Lyon and at the MAGASIN de Grenoble, to discover works by such artists as Héctor Zamora, Julien Creuzet, Riva Neuenschwander, Marco Godinho, Elisabeth S. Clark, and others.


New house, 2000

Luar no Sertão, 1995

Divisor, 1969-2017

“As you can see, all is connected. The artwork does not exist as a finished, resolved object, but as something that is always present, constant within people.”

Lygia Pape was a leading artist on the Brazilian scene in the 1950s, working with the avant-garde group Frente, which sought to re-appropriate certain forms of European modernism.  Her work

New House evokes the progressive destruction of a favela. The piece exists in two, very different situations: overgrown with tropical vegetation in the Yijuca forest in Rio de Janeiro, and as here, seemingly destroyed by the passage of time. Lygia Pape is a pioneer of participative, performance-based, sensory art, intimately connected with social issues. Her work Divisor is an environment connecting individual bodies to form a work of “architecture in motion”. The piece is emblematic of the artist’s approach, in which destruction is seen as an essential part of the process of re-birth. Here, individual bodies are isolated within the fabric of the work, but ultimately come together to create a new organism. Finally, Lygia Pape’s work Luar do Sertão (Moonlight in the Back Country) takes inspiration from a Brazilian popular song exhorting the pleasures of the simple life. A vast expanse of pop-corn is lit with black light, creating a lyrical, ironic image of a walk through a moonlit landscape, while at the same time evoking the sense of hopelessness felt by many Brazilians today. Pape takes up the artistic metaphor of cannibalism, first explored by the Brazilian poet and theorist Oswald de Andrade, and associates the cannibalistic practices of indigenous peoples with the political struggle against dictatorship, in particular in Brazil.


With backing from the embassy of Brazil

Paris2 Azul


©Paula Pape © Projeto Lygia Pape


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