Lygia Clark: Painting as an Experimental Field, 1948–1958 at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, through May 24, 2020*

“The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Lygia Clark: Painting as an Experimental Field, 1948–1958. A pioneer in abstraction, Lygia Clark (b. 1920, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; d. 1988, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) was a major artist of the second half of the twentieth century. This exhibition presents a reexamination of Clark’s crucial formative years from 1948 to 1958, when she was experimenting between figuration and abstraction to articulate the compelling visual language that defined her mature production. Along with a pertinent representation of her early figurative work, this show assembles paintings from major series created during this early period to provide a fundamental overview of the first decade of Clark’s artistic career.

Viewing painting as an ‘experimental field,’ a phrase from a keynote lecture given by the artist in 1956, Clark sought to redefine the medium by pushing the boundaries of traditional painting. Dedicating herself to art without formal training, she embedded herself within the artistic milieu of Rio de Janeiro in the late 1940s and participated in seminal artistic movements, such as Concrete art and geometric abstraction, throughout the 1950s. This focused exhibition traces Clark’s artistic evolution in three structured historical sections: ‘The Early Years, 1948–1952’; ‘Geometric Abstraction, 1953–1956’; and ‘Variation of Form: Modulating Space, 1957–1958.’ Each chapter addresses Clark’s most significant ideas and provides an in-depth representation of her artistic development through a concise selection of works.” — Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

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Lygia Clark. The Violoncellist (O Violoncelista), 1951. Oil on canvas, 105.5 x 81 x 2.7 cm. Private collection. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Composition (Composição), 1951. Oil on canvas, 105 x 81 cm. Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Staircase (Escada), 1951. Oil on canvas ,100.4 x 74 cm. Acervo Museu de Arte Brasileira – MAB FAAP, São Paulo. Photo: Fernando Silveira. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Untitled, 1952. Oil on canvas, 54.5 x 81.5 cm. Joâo Sattamini Collection on loan to the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Composition (Composição), 1953. Oil on canvas, 116.7 x 80.7 x 2.5 cm. Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Composition (Composição), 1953. Oil on canvas, 89 x 106 cm. Collection MAM, Donation, Sul América Seguros. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Untitled, 1954. Oil on canvas, 56 x 42 cm. Joâo Sattamini Collection on loan to the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Untitled, 1956. Oil on canvas, 113.5 x 79.5 cm. Private collection, São Paulo. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Modulated Surface No. 20 (Superfície modulada no. 20), 1956. Industrial paint on wood, 60 x 120.5 cm. Fundação Edson Queiroz Collection, Fortaleza. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Modulated Surface (Superfície modulada), 1957. Industrial paint on wood, 49.5 x 94.5 x 8 cm. Collection Marcos Ribeiro Simon. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clar. Planes in Modulated Surface (Planos em superfície modulada), 1958. Synthetic polymer paint on wood, 100 x 150 x 7 cm. Private collection, Rio de Janeiro. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

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Lygia Clark. Counter Relief (Contra relevo), 1959. Industrial paint on wood, 140 x 140 x 2.5 cm. Collection Jones Bergamin, Rio de Janeiro. © Courtesy of “The World of Lygia Clark” Cultural Association

Exhibition was curated by Geaninne Gutiérrez-Guimarães, Associate Curator, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation.

Images courtesy Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

*PLEASE NOTE: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is temporarily closed to visitors until further notice.