Archive for a Work-Event, Activating the Body’s Memory of Lygia Clark’s Poetics and Its Context, Part II

Suely Rolnik

Memory of the body

Building a body’s memory of Lygia Clark’s artistic propositions was the way I found to activate their poetic power against the grain of its neutralization in their recent return to the art institutional terrain. I had set out to accomplish that task through the creation of a series of filmed interviews. The memory that I wanted to evoke with the interviews was not that of the external forms of those actions or of the related dispositives and objects and their representations. My goal was to bring to the surface the memory of the potencies mobilized by Lygia Clark’s propositions, making possible an immersion into the sensations that had been lived through those experiences.

The temporal logic of sensations does not obey the chronological order proper to the time of perceptions. Sensations have no past, present or future: they are always there, waiting to be accessed, so that what was experienced in the past, as well as the living experience of the present that lies under the rifts of its actual forms and representations, can always be embodied, leading to the reconfiguration of the current cartography. Activating those politics of desire as they were performed in the experiences that the work of Lygia Clark had provided, and their relation to the world today, was the main goal of the project.

Limiting the interviewees to those who had been directly connected to the artist, her life, and her work was not enough: it was also necessary to produce a memory of the context into which her aesthetics had been inserted. The reason is that experimenting shifts in the politics of subjectivation and in cognitive production, as it was the case in Lygia’s work, were dominant aspects of the bustling countercultural environment of the time. With regards to that movement, the interest was not on reconstructing the facts, and even less on producing an alleged heroic aura that would turn those experiences into a model to be revered, perpetuated and reproduced. The intention was rather to update the sensations of that affirmation of an artistic potency that was particularly daring in its critical spirit, in its inventiveness, and in its freedom of cultural and existential experimentation. Such an affirmation became possible in Brazil in the 1960s because it was supported by a large collective movement.

Inciting a work of reactualization of the intense experiences that an entire generation had shared was of primary importance to the creation of the archive. Such work and its incitement could never have taken place in Brazil until that time due to the superposition of the effects of dictatorship and of cultural capitalism, which both, in different ways, undermined the exercise of critical thinking. Finally, it was also necessary to produce a memory of the movement that had occurred over the same period in Paris, where the artist moved in 1968 and where she would stay for eight years; a move which would affect her work. In order to complete this task, I drew from my experience of over thirty years of psychoanalytic practice, especially those with Institutional Analysis and Psychotherapy,1 and also with Schizoanalysis,2 which provided me with an expanded sense of the theoretical and clinical psychoanalytic practice as a human science.3

Therefore I aimed neither to develop a work of recording the past and archiving it for the glory of a sterilized sense of cultural patrimony, nor to turn the artist into a diva of Brazilian experimentalism, and even less to turn her work into a monument. On the contrary, my aim was to allow the strength of the event carried by those works and by the cultural movement in which they were inscribed to come alive once again and interact with contemporary artistic production. The difference between these two positions is the conception of memory that each one presupposes.

The first conception of memory relates to the forms produced by a certain vital movement—that is, its corpses accompanied by their representations, certified by the history of art. As categorised corpses they are ready to be stuffed and fetishized not only as high-value commodities but also as works that provide a strong social status to whomever owns and/or exhibits them. Such is the memory of perceptions and their representations, when it is dissociated from their second type of memory; the memory of sensations. It concerns the bodily inscription of the vital movement of response to one’s environment in the moments of tension in which the state of things goes beyond the limits of the tolerable, mobilizes the potency of thought, and in so doing, generates new landscapes. In other words, what is inscribed in the memory of the body is the desiring impulse, which triggers creative imagination, provoked by the new problematics of the present. What was important to recall and register in the making of the archive was the memory of the experience of a collective activation of such an impulse, which found the right conditions for its emergence during those decades.

Activating that memory could intensify the revival of the artistic movement of the new generations of the late 1990s, not only in Brazil but possibly in the whole of Latin America. Such revival occurred in those countries after the persistent micropolitical effects of the dictatorships that had paralysed the continent over the course of the two previous decades, even after their dissolution.

Suely Rolnik, Arquivo para una obra-acontecimento. Image by Rodrigo Araujo / Bijari

The young artists, critics, art historians and curators in those countries only knew this past through the memory of the facts and their representations. They did not at all have access to the body’s memory of the potency of artistic creation and of the openings it promoted in its environment in the arts, and, in a wider sense, in the culture of daily life, which still remained repressed. The project of the archive was based on the idea that the reactivation of that memory—especially the memory of the legacy of Lygia Clark—would provide their movement with a new strength from ancestral poetics, which had become the object of a defensive oblivion.4 In conclusion, the aim was to produce a memory of the bodies that had been affected by this type of experience and in which it was inscribed, so as to make it pulsate in the present, in tune with the critical potency that had begun to manifest itself once more at that moment (and has continued to be activated since then). The operation would go against the grain of the neutralisation of Lygia Clark’s oeuvre, in its return to the territory of art.

For that purpose I conducted sixty-five interviews, filmed in France and in the United States by Babette Mangolte, and in Brazil by Mustapha Barat,5 which together form the archive. During the filming, Corinne Diserens, then director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, invited me to conceive an exhibition of Lygia Clark’s work; the core of which would be the archive and its concept. Yet another challenge arose: would it be a productive unfolding of the dispositive I was creating with the archive? Would it make sense to bring Lygia’s work to the museum space and, moreover, to present it in the form of an exhibition, knowing that she had deserted both museums and exhibitions in 1963 as an essential gesture for her artistic thought? Would Lygia accept Diserens’s invitation (or anyone else’s) to do it if she were alive? We will never know. What we can be sure of is that she would have reacted energetically to the way in which her work has been brought back to exhibitions and to the institutional art field.6 Lygia is no longer among us, and the decision of how to enact that return can only be made by us. Assuming the responsibility and risk inherent in that decision, I decided to accept the invitation. I was motivated by the desire to intervene in the current parameters of the transmission of her work within the museum space. But how shall a work like Clark’s be transmitted in such a context?

Lygia Clark goes back to the museum?

In order to answer these questions, I had certain curatorial principles from which to conceive the exhibition project. First, it was necessary to communicate that Lygia Clark’s investigations involving objects and dispositives that appealed to the bodily experience of a receiver who had become active as part of the work, occupied two thirds of her production (1963–1988). Secondly, I wanted to show that the work produced during those twenty-five years was not a kind of undifferentiated magma composed of objects described by the artist as “sensorial” or “relational”, whose respective meanings were supposedly vague or even naïve. This appears, for example, in the misunderstanding about the term “relational”, which tends to be wrongly applied to the “participation of the spectator” and, more recently, confused with the aesthetic theory concept put forth by Nicolas Bourriaud.7 Instead, these propositions differ greatly from each other, grouped by the artist herself in five phases, which she designated with specific names.8 Each phase consists of a wide range of propositions that shared a certain direction of research with its own complexity, and it is the investigation of each field of questions that leads to the next stage.

To show this in the exhibition at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, we presented the original objects, replicas and photographs for each phase. There were also brief texts that suggested a hypothesis of interpretation of the central problems that the artist had explored at that particular moment; the name and date of the specific phase, as well as of the various propositions grouped around it. We also presented the only two documentaries that have ever been made with the artist, about her practices involving the body: a film about the Estruturação do Self (Structuring the Self),9 which was shown next to the material on that specific proposition, and another on some of the works from the earlier phases,10 placed between their respective materials.

The third principle consisted in showing that the questions that Lygia Clark pursued with her experimental adventures had pervaded her work since the beginning, when she made paintings and sculptures. The artist directed towards the singularity of her research the legacies of Russian Constructivism and of Mondrian’s Geometric Abstraction that had marked Concretism and Neo-concretism—the key artistic movements in Brazil during the 1950s, of which Lygia Clark’s oeuvre was one of the strongest expressions.

To make such a reading available to the public, I displayed the trajectory of her work from the end to the beginning: after going through twenty-five years of bodily propositions, the visitor encountered Caminhando (Walking). Two sets of objects belonging to this work (scissors, paper and glue) were displayed over two tables to allow more than one person at a time to experience the proposition, thereby fulfilling the condition for the artwork to exist. On the wall, the classic photographs of the work, done by the artist herself, were displayed as a sort of user’s manual. The Caminhando (Walking) materials were placed in the corridor that led to the rooms presenting her painting and sculpture works, thus indicating the crossroads that Caminhando (Walking) signified between those works and the subsequent body experiments. When seeing the paintings and sculptures, after discovering the body propositions, the audience was able to realise that the experiments were an unfolding of the initial works.

The inversion of the chronological order of Lygia’s work was an opportunity that the exhibition installation offered to the public, in order to get over the reduction of the experience of those earlier works to a simple perception of their forms, summoning up the other capacity of the eye (its resonance to the living forces), so that one could begin to see beyond the visible. This is what the artist had tried to express through her formal strategies. Furthermore, on the walls of the room in which her paintings and sculptures were exhibited, visitors could see a presentation of her whole trajectory, with an abundance of written and iconographic information. It allowed him or her to re-read her oeuvre from the beginning to the end, associating the representational register of its chronological temporality with his or her register of aesthetic experience of the becomings of its poetics, which the exhibition tried to give occasion to in their itinerary until that point.

Suely Rolnik, Arquivo para una obra-acontecimento. Image by Rodrigo Araujo / Bijari

To end—or perhaps, to begin—the fourth principle consisted in providing the interviews of the archive a lead role in the curatorial dispositive. In the Pinacoteca they were located in three different moments of the exhibition itinerary: the beginning, the middle, and the end. At the entrance, in a space where it was still impossible to perceive the space of the exhibition, visitors were welcomed by voices in a film loop with fragments that had been chosen from each interview, projected on a canvas. The second moment of the film screening took place after the visitors had gone through all the practices related to the body. The full-length DVDs were exhibited according to a schedule on a plasma screen which was located in a small room especially designed for the purpose, at one side of an octagonal space which was part of the museum’s architecture.

Lastly, after seeing her whole oeuvre, including the paintings, the sculptures and the chronology, the exhibition ended in a closed space that was called “Room of Memory”, where two copies of each DVD were available for screening on six monitors with headphones. Twelve people could watch the DVDs at the same time, and each was able to choose the interviews that he or she wanted to see. We intended the films to embed the body’s memory with the public’s encounters with the exhibited works and documents, in order to discover the aesthetic experience, inextricably therapeutic and political, that was lived by the people who took part in those artistic actions and in the context in which they initially emerged as a unique answer to the questions of that time.

In fact, that living archive brought forth a concert of paradoxical and heterogeneous voices, characterised by the tone of the singularity of lived experiences and, therefore, was dissonant from the tones we are used to in the fields of art, psychotherapeutics, and politics. I believed that this was a possible way to overcome the condition of a dead archive of documents and objects, by turning them into elements of a living memory, potentially producing differences in the present.

In the exhibition at the Pinacoteca, the screening room was always full. Some people, especially young artists, returned every day over the course of a week, and sometimes even more than that. However, any attempt to predict the effects of their encounters would be empty rhetoric, moved by an omnipotent desire that is destined to fail. What was offered to the visitors was simply the gesture of facilitating the encounter. Its effects would happen (or not) in the proliferation of that experience in different times and spaces, and not necessarily in the realm of art.

Dead or living archive

Finding strategies to communicate this type of work that has, in its effects, changed the current regime of artworks is a challenge that, evidently, is not only posed to Lygia Clark’s works. All the contemporary art practices of the past and the present for which the work is not reduced to the object, but instead imply the incorporation of their audiences and what is promoted in their sensibility, oblige us to deal with this problem. The idea of the archive and of its different unfoldings came from the need to face that challenge.

In that sense, the archive is part of those initiatives that try to rethink the constitution of inventories for artistic practices involving its audience as a condition of its realisation. It also belongs to the growing number of exhibitions that have been organized worldwide over the course of the last few years whose main foci are the archives themselves, motivated by the belief that it is impossible to reproduce a posteriori the actions they document.

The Archive for a Work-Event participates in such debates by putting forth the idea that it is impossible to reproduce experiences a posteriori. It means that, in the face of the artistic practices that depend on them, we researchers have the unavoidable task of finding ways of communicating them. This is all the more so the case if we want to bring closer the thinking poetics that traverse those works, and to keep alive both their power to affect the present and to be affected by it by means of new experiences. To answer that demand, we must go beyond the simple gathering of documentation from the time, its organization, and its being made available to the public.

The reason for this requirement is, firstly, the fact that the way of organizing their archive and its mode of presentation are not neutral. But also, and above all, because objects belonging to those propositions isolated from the actions they depend on, as well as films and photographs that document those actions, often become corpses emptied of the vitality of a work that is lost in the dust of a dead archive. Separated from the living experience allowed by their practices, those art propositions often become relics of the past, destined to be worshiped and classified in the categories of official Art History. The attitude to adopt in the face of this kind of artistic production ought thus seek the opposite: the way we bring the works up to date should have the power to go against the totalizing will that moves “that” history, produced by the academic colonial spirit of Western Europe and the United States. Those proposals have the potential to put into crisis the categories in question, and to force us to outline another story (or stories)—the multiple and infinite process of creation and differentiation that cannot be defined, and will never be possible to define, once and for all in the name of an imperial geopolitics. If we don’t do so, we risk losing precisely the very essence of art as the exception of the rules of culture.

Suely Rolnik, Arquivo para una obra-acontecimento. Image by Rodrigo Araujo / Bijari

That requirement applies to all the unfoldings of this kind of artistic practice, including the way through which we present the contemporary ones when we bring them to exhibition spaces. Concerning Lygia Clark’s oeuvre, the Archive of a Work-Event is only an initial gesture in that direction. Its status as “unidentified object” has been contaminating its destiny, making neutrality impossible in every one of its unfoldings. The first one was the “retrospective” mentioned above, which has this archive at the core of its dispositive. After that, many other unfoldings took place and are still taking place today.

The second unfolding is its insertion in museum collections, in Brazil and abroad, which is currently under negotiation. The discussions to make it possible have the effect of bringing forth a no man’s land where the institutional structure is problematized. It does not make sense to locate it in the area of research, as the content is not made of original documents but of material that has been produced in the present. The same applies to the archiving department, as we are not dealing with an archive in the traditional sense of the term. Its reason for being is to accompany the work of Lygia Clark in the museum collection itself, trying to make it accessible in its very essence of an unusual aesthetic experience.

In that sense, this archive should be placed in the collection itself. But such a thing is not obvious. On the one hand, the archive is not the artwork itself, and neither does it belong to it; and on the other, the propositions by Lygia Clark that it explores do not have enough autonomy to belong to the collection if they are reduced to a simple set of objects. They cannot be considered “art objects” in themselves; not because they are non-objects, as Ferreira Gullar has sustained11—on the contrary, they are essential and have a rigorous aesthetic quality. Nevertheless, this aspect can only be realized in their relational use inside the practice of the artistic proposition for which they were conceived and which depends on them to exist as such.

The problematization of museum structure does not stop there, however: even if we decide to place the collection of objects belonging to those propositions alongside the archive, they cannot simply be classified within the collection of visual artworks. That is because they exist in a borderline territory between art objects and body art or performance—categories into which they cannot be tidied either. Lygia had always insisted on pointing out the difference between her propositions and such practices, and she used to react violently when this confusion took place. As for the archive, it could eventually be classified as a film work, as the interviews were filmed by Babette Mangolte, an artist/filmmaker whose work has been shown in museums and biennials and is included in several museum collections. But this is also problematic, because she is neither the author of the project concept nor the editor of the films that belong to it. They were conceived and edited by me, as part of a dispositive that can neither be placed within the category of visual art, nor within that of art cinema or documentary film.

Such a set of ambiguities causes problems for the classification of the objects within the museum’s organizational chart, as it belongs to an inexistent territory: between archives, research and collections; and within the collections, between different sorts of artworks.

Might we conclude that this archive echoes, now inside the museum’s structures, the effects of Lygia Clark’s unique territory, which she created through her work? Perhaps this is a pretentious question. The only thing we can say here is that, through this unusual and uncomfortable position, the presence of the archive in the museums has been causing a degree of uneasiness that demands collective work between the different departments in order to decide where and how to insert it. This makes apparent the inadequacy of a certain kind of compartmentalization of the museum, whose departments do not make sense in regard to contemporary art practices, which mix together existent means and invent others. This obliges the institution to rethink its traditional structure. Ultimately, what is called into question is the very logic that governs the museum.

The third unfolding of this project, related to exhibiting the archive itself, is absolutely not neutral. Another challenge is posed here: how to present it to the publics in exhibition contexts without emptying it from its active essence? Such a question, certainly, pervades the exhibitions of archives that have been produced all over the world for the last decade or longer, concerning different contemporary art practices and movements whose concrete materiality is the means to experience its concept in its living effects; the condition for them to be realised as oeuvres. Nevertheless, very few of those initiatives find strategies to face this challenge. The exhibitions of the Archive for a Work-Event are located in this debate, suggesting a way among others to approach it through the curatorial concept that has been driving them. This concept concerns the option of setting up an exhibition space with an absolute absence of sensorial appeals, and where there are neither art objects nor images, but only films, successively presented on a cinema screen or as DVDs available to the visitors. The DVDs would be on one or more computers, accessible to visitors at their leisure and accompanied by some reading material. Those few elements would be surrounded by a peaceful environment, free of visual harassments that seduce desire in its narcissist longing for easy and immediate satisfaction.

At first, the void gives rise to an anguished frustration. When this unpredictable unease does not lead to a rushed escape, the situation installs a silence that invites an introspective immersion, be it in the voices telling of the memory of the body’s experiences lived through Lygia Clark’s propositions and in their cultural surroundings; be it in the artist’s own writings, which were as precise as her art; or in the few existing essays on her propositions by art critics and historians. The “empty-full” of this strange borderline place—which has neither the usual form of an exhibition, nor of a library, nor of a cinema, but all of these at once; intermingled and generating an unidentified object in tune with Lygia’s oeuvre and with the archive exposed there—has some chance of echoing the relational pulsing of this artist’s poetics.

Obviously, the form of this exhibition (which, in fact, varies, depending on the site where it takes place) applies specifically to Lygia Clark’s oeuvre, as well as to the archive created according to it and for it. Nevertheless, the concept that conducts its curatorial principle can be actualized in the invention of other forms, according to the singularity of the works they aspire to make sensible and to the contexts in which they are presented. Perhaps this is the reason for the numerous invitations to curate exhibitions of this archive in museums, art centers and experimental galleries all over the world, even before its finalisation. It is exactly by actualizing the relational nature of Lygia Clark’s propositions, in their very form, that those exhibitions become active in the field of the debate brought forward by the challenge that this type of artwork imposes, when it does matter to us to make them public, thus preserving their power.

Finally, the fourth unfolding is the box set: its purpose is to increase public access to the archive material, with 1 000 copies of twenty DVDs of interviews, selected among the sixty-five films, and a booklet that accompanies them. But, again, in this case, it was also necessary to think of a format that would preserve the concept that permeates this project as a whole. The demands of certain museums (the ones that participate actively in the debate mentioned above) to translate this box set and its contents to different languages suggest that this unfolding of the archive responds to a real need.

Of course we can neither predict the effects that such a dispositive and its unfoldings may have in their reception, nor can we guarantee that there will be any. We can only affirm that a will towards questioning the neutralisation of the artistic propositions in an international art circuit was the source of their invention.

Lygia Clark’s work invites us, precisely, to partake in that questioning: the courage and radicalism with which the artist assumed the singularity of what was imposed on her thought in her time compel us to face the current problems of the terrain of art and to help us see it clearly. Obviously, this does not mean that we should do “as” Lygia Clark did. The dispositives she invented belong both to her poetics and to her time. If Lygia Clark, like many other artists of her generation, in Brazil and elsewhere, still summons us, it is because the questions raised by the legacy of its critical force remain alive. Where and how does the political potency immanent to artistic actions appear in the broad and diverse contemporary production? I am referring to its power to inaugurate possibles in relation to the supposed impossibilities of the present. What curatorial, archival and museum strategies allow us to keep that potency alive? What other dispositives can we invent to give body to the problems raised by our vital affects—a body with enough density as to break with the perverse enclosure that tends to dominate the art circuit, allowing it to interfere effectively within its landscape? Let us stay with those questions.

  • 1. Institutional Psychotherapy originated during the Second World War, with the Catalan anarchist psychiatrist François Tosquelles, who took refuge during that period in the Hospital of Saint Alban in France. In this context, he experimented with numerous innovations in the psychiatric practice, such as the introduction of psychoanalytic practice and theory, problematized and expanded on the basis of the work with psychosis in an institutional environment, and the incorporation of collective self-management as a therapeutic resource, which includes “care givers” (soignants) and “care receivers” (soignés) in a horizontal relationship. Institutional Psychotherapy was consolidated in the Clinique de la Borde, founded by the psychoanalyst and psychiatrist Jean Oury after the war, in the 1950s. Felix Guattari was involved with this institution almost since its foundation and remained working there throughout his life, being its co-director for a long time. Led by La Borde and influenced at the beginning by a certain direction of the Lacanian movement in the institutional ambit and in the treatment of psychosis, Institutional Psychotherapy expanded in the decades of the 1960s and 1970s, giving way to a large movement that played a central role in the revolution of psychiatry in France and in many other countries. In Brazil, this approach had a significant reception from the 1980s onwards, and produced a significant advance for the current field of mental health. The movement had several unfoldings, such as in the Institutional Pedagogy, created by Ferdinand Oury, brother of the psychoanalyst, and Institutional Analysis.
  • 2. Schizoanalysis is a philosophical and psychoanalytical proposal by Félix Guattari, developed in collaboration with Gilles Deleuze. Due to the vast theoretical work produced by both of them, Psychoterapy and Institutional Analysis—which had in Guattari one of their main theoreticians and practitioners—became more complex and expanded, as they were integrated in the philosophical field introduced by the collaborative work of the two authors. For Schizoanalysis, the exercise of clinics goes beyond the specific institutional field where it is supposed to be located, mainly the private office and its traditional setting, to assume itself as a theoretical and practical approach of reality. The radicality of psychoanalysis in its origins is reactivated as a dispositive of micropolitical intervention at the points where life in its essence as force of creation and differentiation is suffocated. Its field of action is the politics of desire and the production of thought, of subjectivity, of modes of existence prevailing in a given context. Its aim is to provoke effective changes in the cartography of the context in which it intervenes.
  • 3. My training in Psychotherapy and in Institutional Analysis took place in Paris, where I was exiled during the 1970s. It started at the Clinique de la Borde and later on in different institutions in France and Brazil. That approach also marked the foundation, after 1968, of the Faculty of Sciences Humaines Cliniques of the Université Paris VII, where I completed my graduate studies, Master and D.E.S.S. (clinical doctoral studies). My approach of Schizoanalysis comes from the collaboration with Guattari, which continued when I returned to Brazil, when we published Micropolitica. Cartografias do desejo (1986); it comes as well from my graduated studies in Philosophy at the Université Paris VIII, where I attended Deleuze’s lessons over the course of several years.
  • 4. This wager is confirmed in the collective dialogue undertaken by the Red de Conceptualismos del Sur, founded in 2007, that brings together sixty researchers, artists, critics, and art historians of Latin America, who research the so-called “conceptual artistic practices” produced in their respective countries during the 1960s and 1970s, and rethink the actions of archiving and exhibiting such practices. The Red has a partnership with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS), which considers such collaboration as one of the central dispositives under the direction of Manuel Borja-Villel. One of his main statements is the dissolution of hierarchies that characterizes the cultural map of the relations between Europe and its former colonies, especially between Spain and Latin America.
  • 5. Babette Mangolte is a Franco-American filmmaker who, among others, worked as a camerawoman in several of Chantal Akerman’s early films, including Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1976). In the 1970s she settled in New York, where she made documentaries on the experimental art scene of the city during the period (including the works of Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer in dance; Rauschenberg and Joan Jonas in fine arts and Robert Wilson in theatre). Currently, Mangolte is professor at the University of San Diego, California. Stephan Moustapha Barat is a Franco-American filmmaker who now lives in Rio de Janeiro, and has a wide range of experience in short and feature films, both in Brazil and abroad.
  • 6. Proof of Clark’s bravery when faced with misrepresentations of her work was provided by the artist’s reaction to the exhibition of her Bichos and Casulos at the Studiengalerie of the Studium Generale at the Polytechnic of Stuttgart, whose curator was Max Bense. Both Bense and the exhibition were key factors in the international recognition that her work was starting to acquire. Despite this, when she arrived at the gallery, just a few minutes before the opening, she saw her Bichos hanging from the ceiling, converted into a kind of mobile and out of reach for visitors’s handling experience. Lygia reacted furiously and without hesitation: she managed to get hold of a pair of scissors in order to cut the wires that held the Bichos to the ceiling, freeing them from that serious mistake. In this regard, see Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, Cartas. 1964–1974 (Rio de Janeiro: Editora UFR, 1996), 29–32.
  • 7. Nicolas Bourriaud, L’esthétique relationnelle. Paris, Les presses du réel, 1998.
  • 8. See notes 8 and 9 in "Part I", Manifesta Journal #13
  • 9. A memória do corpo, a documentary made by Mario Carneiro (Rio de Janeiro: Rio Arte, 1982).
  • 10. O mundo de Lygia Clark, a documentary made by Eduardo Clark, son of the artist (Rio de Janeiro, 1973).
  • 11. Lygia writes about the disagreement with Ferreira Gullar in one of her manuscripts: “Gullar wrote the theory of the ‘non-object’ and wanted us all to adopt it. For me it was impossible; as Mário Shemberg said, the Bichos would become the sculpture that the cubists did not invent, and I thought the same thing. In a television show, Gullar, pointing at the Bicho, said: ‘Lygia if that is a sculpture, it is worth nothing, but if it is considered a non-object, it has a high significance.’ I told him: ‘Ferreira Gullar, theory passes, the good artwork remains’. That was the moment in which the group fell apart.” (Unpublished, undated, Lygia Clark’s archive). For further details, see Suely Rolnik, “Molding a Contemporary Soul: The Empty-Full of Lygia Clark”, in Rina Carvajal and Alma Ruiz, eds., The Experimental Exercise of Freedom: Lygia Clark, Gego, Mathias Goeritz, Hélio Oiticica, Mira Schendel (Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art, 1999, 55–108). Bilingual edition (English/Spanish).