On view through October 20th, Hauser & Wirth in New York is presenting a comprehensive solo exhibition of the work of Lygia Pape, the gallery’s first United States solo exhibition of the artist since announcing its worldwide representation of Projeto Lygia Pape in 2016. Pape, a founding member of Brazil’s Neo-Concrete movement, created work that foregrounded the sensorial experience of the viewer and spanned a range of media from sculpture to drawing, engraving to filmmaking, and even large-scale installation. Her expansive body of work, and the elaborate series of themes and concepts demonstrated throughout make for a thrilling exhibition, as the gallery seeks to explore Pape’s work in all of its breadth and depth.
This show reflects Pape’s playful approach to art making, and her emphasis on the physical and material experience of art runs throughout her multidisciplinary range. The three floors of the exhibition feature sculpture, installation, weaving, and even a body of collages. Even a performance of the iconic participatory work ‘Roda dos Prazeres (Whell of Pleasures)’ from 1967 took place on the rooftop of the 22nd Street gallery on September 15th. For this, a sensorial engagement with the installation, comprised of a circular grouping of vessels filled with brightly colored solutions, was encouraged. Viewers were provided with small medicine droppers to taste the color solutions, which range in flavor from pleasant to unpleasant. The contrast of the pleasing colors and the unappealing taste created a sensory ambivalence that was intensified by the anticipation of selecting from these unlabeled vessels.
On the ground floor of the gallery, one of Pape’s most emblematic works Ttéia 1A (1978) is exhibited. This installation, composed of silver thread grouped in one corner of the space, allows the threads to intersect and weaves as they move upwards and outwards from their point origin. The name, referring to the Portuguese word for web and a colloquial term for a graceful and delicate person or thing, allows the depth and volume of its triangular structure to explore spatial relationships elicited by both the object and its shadow.
On the third floor, the artist’s early geometric Tecelares, woodcut prints from the 1950s marking the artist’s transition from the Concrete to the Neo-Concrete movement, are on view. These works on paper reveal a parallel richness in the composition of lines as they evolve into physical networks that evoke a charged sense of materiality. On the first floor, serving as a sort of spatialized echo, Pape’s Amazoninos confront the viewer, large iron sculptures inspired by an aerial view of the Amazon forest. These massive forms appear at once geometric and organic, and embody the dynamic relationship between viewer and artwork that so concerned Pape in her artistic practice.
This exhibition is masterful in its illustration of Pape’s approach to the art piece as an occasion for dynamic exchange or interaction to take place between the viewer and the material world. The artist’s significant contributions to the Neo-Concrete movement are clearly defined, and Pape’s profound and playful range of production emerges unmistakably in this show.
The show closes October 20th.
— A. Corrigan
Exhibition Page [Hauser & Wirth]