The "Bichos" represent the last stage of Lygia Clarks's geometric research that, since the 1950s, had been involved with a systematic deconstruction of traditional painting into its key elements: line, plane, and surface. These components were crucial to the Neo-Concrete movement she developed with Hélio Oiticica, Willys de Castro, Hércules Barsotti, and others in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In Neo-Concretismo, the object itself is progressively negated in favor of the the body and the community, by and large, as kernels of a happening, a rite, or an action. The artist named them "Bichos" because of their fundamentally organic character. In addition, the hinge that connects the planes reminded the artist of a spinal column. More important, the Bicho has no reverse, no other side. The layout of the metal planes determines the position of the "critter," which at first sight seems limitless. Here, 10 semicircles and 13 triangles connect by hinges in order for the object to take on various shapes. Related ICAA documents: Vera Pedrosa Martins de Alemeida, "L'homme est le centre = O homem é o centro [consultado]," 1998 (record ID 1110692) Monica Amor, "From Work to Frame, In-between, and Beyond : Lygia Clark's and Hélio Oiticica's work 1959-1964," 2010 (record ID 1281344) Guy Brett, [Letter to Adolpho Leirner], 1988 (record ID 1232349) Guy Brett, “Lygia Clark: In Search of the Body,” 1994 (record ID 1232526) Lygia Clark, "1968:Somos domésticos?," 1980 (record ID 1110516) Jean Clay, “Lygia Clark: Ongoing Fusion — 1968,” 1992 (record ID 1232614) Ferreira Gullar, "Do quadro ao não objeto," 1960 (record ID 1091272) Jayme Mauricio, II Brasile: Alla XXXIV Biennale Di Venezia, exh. cat., 1968 (record ID 1232444) David Medalla, ed., “Lygia Clark at Signals London, 27th May to 3rd July,” 1965 (record ID 1232662) Frederico Morais, "Contra a arte afluente : o corpo é o motor da "obra"," 1970 (record ID 1110685)

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Lygia Clark, Brazilian, 1920–1988
Bicho (máquina)
Critter (Machine)
Gilded metal with hinges
Variable dimensions
Credit Line

The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art, museum purchase funded by the Caroline Wiess Law Accessions Endowment Fund

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number
Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art

The artist; Ralph Camargo, São Paulo; Adolpho Leirner, São Paulo, 1972; sold to MFAH, 2005.