Recent Articles
5 things to look out for in the Celeste Dupuy-Spencer edition
Close Look
5 things to look out for in the Celeste Dupuy-Spencer edition
Lindsay August-Salazar on her inspirations, influences and ideals
Meet the Artist
Lindsay August-Salazar – “Art has the capacity to expand my deeper drive and interest in human expression'
Colleen Blackard - 'I want to build worlds to share'
Artist to Watch
Colleen Blackard - 'From an early age I found it easier to communicate with gestures and pictures than with words'
Bepi Ghiotti on his photographs of rivers and mountains
Meet the Artist
Bepi Ghiotti - 'An artwork is never still although what it represents might seem like it is'
Catherine Opie tells us how she got this amazing shot
Q&A
Catherine Opie tells us how she shot this powerful photograph at the first ever women's march
Meet the Artist
Rey Zorro - 'When we went on holiday we’d put chairs on the beach to look for UFOs in the night sky. This was normal at home; we never spoke about it as being ‘out of this world’
Meet the people behind Assembly
Meet the Dealer
Meet the people behind Assembly - a new kind of gallery
The Artspace Art for Life Interview with Adam Clayton
How I Collect
The Artspace Art for Life Interview with Adam Clayton
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer on her new Artspace edition
Artist to Watch
'I was really trying to paint what it feels like to be living in the fall of human civilization' - Celeste Dupuy-Spencer on her powerful new Artspace edition
William Eric Brown on the latest Artspace auction
Meet the Artist
‘I’m most comfortable in that state of unknowing - is it real or imagined?’ - William Eric Brown
TM Davy on his benefit auction contribution
Meet the Artist
'Unhappy and happy flow back and forth like a tide making art. I’m working to be OK with that' – TM Davy
Anthony Goicolea on his new Artspace Edition
Meet the Artist
'I am most inspired by those weird transitional moments or in-between states where things undergo metamorphosis' - Anthony Goicolea
Jerry The Marble Faun on the latest Artspace Auction
Meet the Artist
‘It takes a lot of energy to tap into whatever is trapped inside the material - the process is like a releasing a spirit’ – Jerry The Marble Faun
Garrett Chingery on the latest Artspace auction
Meet the Artist
‘My interests include the relationship of one’s self to the world, surrealism and mystery’ - Garrett Chingery
Glennda Testone on the latest Artspace auction
Q&A
"We have an opportunity to not just 'return to normal' but to create a new normal" – Glennda Testone

The Phaidon Folio

Why Lygia Pape Matters: 'Web 1, C' and Neo-Concretism

By

Why Lygia Pape Matters: 'Web 1, C' and Neo-Concretism

Neo-Concretism is on the tip of everyone's tongue lately, with two of its founding members (Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape) having major museum retrospectives this year (the Whitney and Met Bruer, respectively). Those behind the Brazilian art movement, established in 1959 with the "Neo-Concrete Manifesto," believed that art should be more than static objects that respond to one other. They instead envisioned art that was participatory, engaging a community of viewers in order to "express complex human realities." Even though they may not be the most well-known "-ism" in art history, their influence can be felt throughout the years, and especially on contemporary art today.

Lygia Pape's first US retrospective closes after this weekend, and in case you needed another reason to go to the Met, we bring you this excerpt from Phaidon’s Defining Contemporary Art. Below, curator and critic Daniel Birnbaum expounds upon Pape's otherworldly masterpiece Web 1, C

***

Like beams of sunlight flooding in from a window, thin gold threads hang down at an angle in a dark room. Strung from ceiling to floor, they have been aligned in groups and arranged in squares, giving the threads of gold the illusion of volume and, changing color as they absorb or reflect the light, they shift from positive to negative depending on the spectator’s point of view. The work in this way acquires an interactive dimension, requiring the movement of the spectator to come fully to life.

Lygia Pape, Web 1, C (detail), 1976-2004

With this abstract work, Ttéia 1, C (Web 1, C), the late Brazilian artist Lygia Pape instilled a solemn, meditative impression in the viewer. The golden beams seem to belong to a different physical and temporal plane from our material world. Seen in a dark space, they assume a spiritual quality and, much like apparitions, appear to render visible what cannot normally be seen. Their precious material itself signals timelessness and recalls the important role of gold in denoting value and religious significance within medieval and Renaissance works of art.

RELATED ARTICLE: What Was Concretism? Inside Brazil's "Official" Radical Art Movement

Having worked in painting, printmaking, sculpture, dance, design, film, performance and installation, Pape was one of the most innovative artists of her time. She was a founding member of the Grupo Frente in Rio de Janeiro in 1953 and, with fellow artists Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, of Neo-Concretism in 1959. Interested in interactive relations between art and its audience, the Neo-Concretists sought to overcome the formal remoteness of Concretism and investigate the social dimensions of art.

 

LygiaPapePortraitLygia Pape in 1956

 

Pape’s Book of Creation (1959-60) is considered a key work of early Neo-Concrete art. It consists of fifteen plain cardboard pages that unfold into abstract, geometrical sculptures. Telling the story of the creation of the world, including the recession of the waters and the invention of time and light, Pape invites the viewer to create meaning and a narrative by manipulating the pages. Throughout her career, the scale of Pape’s art varied from small and intimate to large and public, but the most ambitious research into three-dimensionality is found in her final body of work, the Webs. Based on experiments begun in the late 1970s, these works are made of copper or gold threads suspended between walls, floor, or ceiling. In Web 1, C, reconstructed for the 2009 Venice Biennale, the carefully lit threads in an otherwise completely darkened space seem to dissolve into cosmic immateriality, and the sculpture seems to be made of pure light.

Almost a decade after her passing, Web 1, C, has emerged as one of Pape’s masterpieces. An evident melting pot of her artistic heritage, influences, and preoccupations, like all great works it exceeds these reference points to stand even more forcefully on its own, offering a momentary respite from our hectic routine of image and information overload—a promise that the very best art can still make us take pause and delight in childlike wonderment at the power of alternative realities.

DISCOVER

a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.

LEARN

through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.

BUY

authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.

CONNECT

with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.

INSIDER ACCESS TO THE WORLD'S BEST ART

Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.

  • COLLECT FROM 300+ GALLERIES & MUSEUMS