Lygia Pape’s ‘Magnetized Space’ at the Serpentine

Image from

Lygia Pape is at the Serpentine Gallery right now. I didn’t look her up before I went, so I was pleasantly surprised. Her work is a mixture of experimentation of form and surreal, and slightly disturbing, film. The installation shown above was long terrifically thin strands of perhaps copper drawn between the ceiling and the floor. You could sense its fragility strongly. It was fascinating to think how they might have constructed it – perhaps they had a long needle? The threads formed square diagonal ghostly tubes all together, and the tubes overlapped. How else could they weave them together?

Lygia Pape
Livro do Tempo (Book of Time) 1961-63
Installation view, Magnetized Space,
Serpentine Gallery, London
(7 December 2011 – 19 February 2012)
© 2011 Jerry Hardman-Jones

(I wish they let me take photos)

This appeared to be a fun but meaningless collection of form experimentation: how many variations can I make using only a square of wood? My friend said ‘it’s every character from Pacman’ – and for a second it sounded plausible! They’re very bright… well ok… I’m just gullible when caught off guard. Really, I wanted to find some meaning in it. Why, what’s the point? We realised there were 365, so we reckon it was an exercise of form, one every day of the year… a little more meaning in that… still, there’s probably something to it that we missed. Perhaps at the time it was groundbreaking to do stuff like that. Now it’s commonplace.

Lygia Pape
Untitled. Tecelar (Weavings) 1958
Woodcut on Japanese paper
30 x 54 cm
Installation view
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, 2011
© Projeto Lygia Pape

One series of experimentation I really liked was this printing of wood. I don’t quite understand how it was done – probably why I like it so much! It’s intriguing. It’s playful too.

Video from YouTube

This freaky film was playing, projected quite large, as you entered the gallery space. It’s disturbing watching that intimate close up in a public space. It’s meant to be a comment on the link between consumerism and sexuality.

Overall, this exhibition didn’t make me into a big Lygia Pape fan, but I was entertained.

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