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Installation view of Lygia Clark exhibition
Installation view of Lygia Clark exhibition

“Painting as an Experimental Field, 1948–1958.” Exhibition views at Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, 2020. Photography by Erika Ede. Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association. © FMGB, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 2020.

Anyone who spends time with young artists is familiar with the changes they experience during their first years working. This phase of experimentation, investigation, and testing — upon which all their further artistic production will be based — responds to what, in literature, is called “the search for the voice”: a process that lies in-between introspection and the construction of an identity.
Concurrent with the centenary of Lygia Clark’s birth (Belo Horizonte, 1920–Río de Janeiro, 1988), the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao is exhibiting her work from her formative years: a period of ten years of intense and formal investigation, from her figurative works to her approach to abstraction. The exhibition is divided into three sections following chronological criteria. The first one shows purely figurative works — such as Retrato de la pianista Angélica de Rezende (late 1940s) or Patio de fábrica – paisaje industrial (1951) — a multitude of charcoal sketches in which a first investigation into the variations of form can be sensed; and her first abstract attempts, which channeled certain cubist aesthetics: El violonchelista (1951) or Composición (1951). These latter works, in which an intentional use of color can already be appreciated as she rejects purely naturalistic codes, lead to the second section, spanning from 1953 to 1965.

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