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First time a gallery in New York shows a comprehensive survey of Concrete art from Brazil
Lygia Pape, Escultura (Sculpture), 1965. Painted wood, 49.9 x 49.9 x 3.9 cm. Courtesy of Projeto Lygia Pape.

NEW YORK, NY.- Dickinson New York presents Playing With Form: Concrete Art from Brazil, a comprehensive survey of Brazilian geometric abstraction from the 1950s through the early 1960s, curated by Olivier Berggruen. The exhibition is on view through December 21st 2011 and features seminal works by artists including Geraldo de Barros, Aluisio Carvao, Willys de Castro, Lygia Clark, Raymundo Colares, Judith Lauand, Maria Leontina, Almir Mavignier, Helio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Mira Schendel and Ivan Serpa; the majority of which are on loan from prestigious private collections. The exhibition marks the first time a gallery in New York has shown a comprehensive survey of Brazilian art from this period, and is Dickinson’s first foray into the field of Latin American Art.

Playing With Form: Concrete Art from Brazil emphasizes the articulation between two of Brazil’s most enriched art movements, the Concrete and the Neo-Concrete. “The Basis of Concrete Art” manifesto from 1930 states that painting should be constructed without the association of figures, nature or emotion, and thereby consist of planes and colors. In response to the European influence of Concrete Art in Brazil, a group of artists, including Clark and Pape, published the Neo-Concrete manifesto in 1959, which called for art to become more expressive and engaging. This exhibition illustrates the development of Neo-Concrete artists who reexamined the geometric, purist aesthetic of Concrete Art by infusing rational forms with dynamism and a sensorial aesthetic. According to curator Olivier Berggruen, “the European sensibility and geometric language which these artists pursued in the Fifties, develops and sheds its rationalistic and mechanistic character, creating a style very much its own.”

Highlights of the exhibition include 8 works from Helio Oiticica’s formative Metaesquema series; gouaches with rhythmic geometric shapes by the artist, who was a leading figure in Neo-Concreta, and whose work has received wide international acclaim, including a recent retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Tate Modern, London. The exhibition also includes several folding aluminum sculptures from Lygia Clark’s seminal Bicho series. A pioneer of participatory art, Clark requested that viewers touch and rearrange her malleable sculptures, thereby eliminating the boundary between spectator and art. Lygia Clark will be the subject of a retrospective at MoMA, proposed for 2014. Lygia Pape, similarly noted for her experimentation, will also be represented. As well as her line drawings, and woodcuts, the exhibition will feature painted wooden reliefs from her series Day & Night in which she uses three-dimensional sculptural elements to activate her painting. Lygia pape has been the subject of a major retrospective at the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, which will open at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in December.

The exhibiting artworks are a testament to Brazil’s cultural flowering and confirm the importance of Brazilian Arte Concreta in the development of twentieth century art history. “We are delighted to have two external scholars working on the show- Olivier Berggruen as curator, and Yve-Alain Bois as a contributing writer for the catalogue. Both are passionate followers of Brazilian art of this period,” said Dickinson President Hugo Nathan. “We welcome their insightful collaboration with the gallery on its first exhibition of Brazilian Art.”

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