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Lygia Pape at the Met Breuer

Lygia Pape was a Brazilian artist. She was active during the Concrete and Neo-Concrete Movement from the 1950s and 1960s in Rio de Janeiro and is known for her experimentation and use of a great variety of media and forms. She worked with sculpture, engraving, and filmmaking. Some of the themes Pape works with are critical metaphors against the government, psychological life, geometry and often aimed to involve the participation of the viewer.

Pape’s exhibit at the Met Breuer, “A multitude of Forms,”was a retrospective of her work spanning five decades with examples in various media including sculpture, film, and installation. The pieces I found particularly captivating were her collaborative experimental films with proponents of the Cinema Novo movement, her piece Banquete tupinambá (Tumpinamba Banquet) (1976-2004), and her installation Ttéia 1, C (1976–2004).

Catiti-Catiti (1978)
Banquete tupinambá (Tumpinamba Banquet) (1976-2004)
Ttéia 1, C (1976–2004).

Responses to this exhibition are positive because of her vast experimentation and her “radical relationship to space,” as a Hyperallergic article discussed in relation to her large participatory piece, Banquete tupinambá , and the performance held at Madison Ave. organized by the Breuer. Stated in the article: “As the Met exhibition makes clear, Pape’s art is precisely about heightening our senses and engendering awareness of how we situate ourselves in space.”

Her work is particular in that it often involves the active participation of the viewer. The piece Ttéia 1, C, is interesting because to fully experience the piece, one must engage with the space and move around the room to see the way light is captured by the copper wire carefully and tensely arranged in the center. Working with light and space, along with the materiality of the installation alludes to duality of softness and careful engineering.

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