Met Breuer to Stage First Major US Retrospective of Lygia Pape

She was a key figure in the development of Brazilian modern art.

lygia pape retrospective
Lygia Pape, Book of Night and Day, (1963-1976). Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth, ©Projeto Lygia Pape

The Met Breuer in New York is continuing its fantastic programming. Fresh from the success of Kerry James Marshall’s survey “Mastry,” and with Marisa Merz’s first US retrospective still on view, the museum has announced another US first, a retrospective of one of the most influential female artists of the second half of the 20th century: the Brazilian Lygia Pape.

Titled “A Multitude of Forms,” the exhibition will open on March 21, and will gather paintings, drawings, reliefs, experimental books, photographs, performances, and videos spanning her multidisciplinary five-decade career. The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation and the Garcia Family Foundation have been crucial in the development of the show.

Alongside Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, Pape (1927–2004) was a key figure in the development of Brazilian modern art. She started her artistic career as part of the Concrete movement (Grupo Frente) in Rio de Janeiro, which revisited the legacies of geometric abstraction. The movement then evolved in 1959 into the Neoconcrete group, which prioritized experimentation and process over tradition.

Her concerns then moved towards an exploration of the body in time and space, and her practice began exploring ways to integrate the art object with life experience, through live performance and video. She also was one of the pioneers when it came to audience participation and interaction, two notions that are now commonplace in contemporary art.

lygia pape retrospective

Lygia Pape, Ttéia 1C (2001/2016). Photo Ken Adlard, ©Projeto Lygia Pape, courtesy Hauser & Wirth.

The exhibition will gather some of her most famous works, including select series of her woodcuts Tecelares from the 1950s, her “living sculpture” Divisor (1968), her photographic series of urban life in Rio de Janeiro Espaços imantados (Magnetized Spaces) (c. 1982 and 1995), and sculptural works and installations like Ttéia (1976–2004).

In 2011, Pape’s oeuvre was the subject of an acclaimed retrospective at Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofía, which then travelled to London’s Serpentine Gallery and São Paulo’s Pinacoteca do Estado.

In April 2016, the gallery Hauser & Wirth announced the worldwide exclusive representation of Pape.

Lygia Pape: A Multitude of Forms” will be on view at the Met Breuer, New York, from March 21 to July 23, 2017.


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