LYGIA CLARK: A Morte do Plano (1960)


“But the plane is dead. The philosophical conception that humanity projected onto it no longer satisfies, nor does the idea of a God external to humankind.”


Lygia Clark, Máscara abismo com tapa-olhos (Abyssal mask with eye-patch), 1968.


The plane is a concept created by humanity with a practical objective: to satisfy its need for balance. The square, an abstract creation, is a product of the plane. Arbitrarily marking off the limits of space, the plane gives to humankind an entirely false and rational idea of its own reality. From this come opposing concepts like high and low, front and back, that contribute [conspire] to destroy in humankind the feeling of wholeness. It is also that reason for which humankind has projected [outward] its transcendent part and given it the name of God. Thus [humanity] raised the problem of its [own] existence—inventing the mirror of its own spirituality.

The square acquired a magical meaning once the artist considered it [to be] the carrier of a total vision of the universe. But the plane is dead. The philosophical conception that humanity projected onto it no longer satisfies, nor does the idea of a God external to humankind.

Upon becoming aware that one is dealing with a poetics of the self projected outward, it is understood at the same time the necessity of reintegrating that poetics as an indivisible part of one’s own self.

It was also this same introjection that caused the pictorial rectangle to explode. This rectangle in shatters: we swallowed it, we absorbed it. Before, when the artist situated herself in front of the rectangle, she projected herself onto it and in this projection she charged the surface with transcendence. To demolish the picture plane as a medium of expression is to become aware of unity as an organic and living whole.

We are a whole, and now the moment has come to reunite all the fragments of the kaleidoscope into which the idea of humanity was broken, was reduced to pieces.

We dive into the totality of the cosmos; we are part of this cosmos, vulnerable on all sides: the high and the low, the right and the left, and in the end, the good and the bad: all concepts that transform themselves.

Contemporary humanity escapes the laws of spiritual gravity. It learns to float in the cosmic reality as in its own internal reality. It feels possessed by vertigo. The crutches that sustained it fall far from its arms. It feels like a child who must to learn to balance itself in order to survive. It is the primal experience that thus begins.


Lygia Clark, Pedra e ar, 1966.


Translated by Dane Larsen.

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