Esta escrita é desdobramento de um percurso investigativo comum das autoras a partir da obra da artista brasileira Lygia Clark, especialmente no que tange às interfaces arte-vida, arte-clínica, arte-política, implicadas em suas obras e proposições. Temos a psicologia e a dança como territórios profissionais-existenciais de partida e nos interessamos pelas experiências tecidas em uma trama transdisciplinar. No ano de centenário da artista, 2020, acordamos a memória inscrita no corpo da trajetória de Lygia Clark nos indagando sobre as possíveis contribuições de seu legado na contemporaneidade. Compreendemos que a violência colonial, que insiste nos tempos de agora, incide sobre o corpo, anestesiando sua dimensão sensível e absorvendo sua dimensão criadora, e se estabelece por meio de uma política de desencantamento da vida. O movimento de produção de saúde, que a trajetória de Lygia inspira, faz-nos afirmar seu percurso como possibilidade de ativação da dimensão sensível do corpo e de restauração do sentido de encanto. Por meio da partilha de algumas memórias de experimentações que foram criadas no contágio com a sua obra, desejamos criar sopros que liberem sentidos à aventura do viver e teçam espaços de ativação de uma saúde poética.
Arte; Vida; Saúde; Intervenção psicossocial
This writing is an unfolding of a common investigative path of the authors based on the work of Brazilian artist Lygia Clark, especially concerning the interfaces art-life, clinical art, and political art involved in her works and propositions. We have psychology and dance as professional-existential starting territories and we are interested in the experiences woven through a transdisciplinary plot. In the artist’s centennial year, 2020, we awoke the memory inscribed in the body of Lygia Clark’s trajectory, asking ourselves about the possible contributions of her legacy in contemporary times. We understand that colonial violence, which insists on these time, affects the body, anesthetizing its sensitive dimension and absorbing its creative dimension, and is established through a policy of disenchantment with life. The movement of health production, which Lygia’s path inspires, makes us affirm her path as a possibility of activating the sensitive dimension of the body and restoring the sense of enchantment. By sharing some memories of experiments that were created in contagion with Lygia’s work, we want to create breaths that release meanings to the adventure of living and weave spaces for activating poetic health.
Art; Health; Life; Psychosocial intervention
Breath with me
We are the proposers. We are the mold, it is up to you to breath inside of it the meaning of our being.
We are the proposers: our proposition is the dialogue. Alone, we do not exist. We are at your mercy.
We are proposers: we bury the work of art as such and call you so the thought lives through your action.
We are the proposers: we do not propose you neither the past, nor the future, but the now11 Clark L. Lygia Clark. Barcelona: Fundación Antoni Tàpies; 1997.(233).
Ran over by the daily thing of living in the pandemic, the hours pass. The time gets lost. When we consider what happened until here, we realize that we made countless tasks, that we fulfilled infinite protocols and that little were we connected to the small and big things that we cared before, with life, with the existence, even if they do not stop and keep invoking us.
Thing, lives, possible experiences, pass by as balloons flying around us. We see, we are delighted, but many times we cannot get them. Sometimes, feeling the calling of time, we manage to catch a balloon by the string and, somehow, we are captivated by it, contaminated, affected by its power. In the touch of the string, the field for encounters is opened.
The beginning of this writing is like that: between a thousand tasks, we remember of some loose balloons. In the urgent need of ‘being’ and ‘doing with’, we try to grab the beauty of these balloons. We manage to hold some by the string. They take us to fly.
And thus, led by and as balloons, the Earth’s gravitational pull brought us here. We are balloon-bodies. Our strings connect themselves. Our meeting happened by one common interest: the work of the artist Lygia Clark, specially in the relation weaved by the artist between art and clinic, between art and life and art and politics.
Odd, abject, out of place, at 6 years old, Lygia was taken by her family to watch a hose bath in the madhouse. It was a warning about what happened with disobedient girls and women. The girl grew up with a certain fear of going mad. She made art to not end up in a madhouse. “Out of all normality, of all pathology, of all culture, of all context even visible, here am I — my testimony am I-work”22 Carneiro BS. Relâmpagos com claror: Lygia Clark e Hélio Oiticica, vida como arte. São Paulo: Imaginário; Fapesp; 2004.(69).
We are women from different generations, of distinct paths, and we met by the strings of Lygia, strings of a common desire of wanting to be who we are, of being in the world making health and art without letting go of the different strings that make ourselves, without ceasing to be who we are to enter world of labor, of thought and of gesture, without abandoning what sustain us and move us in order to adjust ourselves to a production mode of knowledge, of care practices, of artistic experimentation and aseptic health, normalizing and technical.
We follow her tracks, but also differ from her path. We devour Lygia and are fed by her ‘cannibalism’, this desire to be ‘among’, to live the place of sharing ‘coengendering’ between the ‘I and the thou’. We have the psychology and the dance as professional-existential departure fields, but in this ‘antropophagic dribble’, web of connective living proposed by Lygia, we unsettle frontiers and remake territories through the interpellations of what surrounds us (and build us).
‘Breath with me’
Let us breath together a blow of air to remember the life, life of Lygia, life in its complete sense, original, germinal. How to breath when we watch so many deaths to the pandemic of a virus that affects, in a way never imagined, all the planet? How to resist when the is so many death in life, fed by a fascist misgovern, based on the bible, the bullet and the bull? The colonial legacy shows its most terrible face in this times. How to write before a life crisis on the planet, before a crises in our so severely acquired democracy?
Our writing has the desire to be an air balloon blown to the wind wanting to ‘postpone the end of the world’33 Krenak A. Ideias para adiar o fim do mundo. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras; 2019., to affirm life in its fullest sense, taking a bit of air to the lungs of the world so that we can insist on dreaming. For this reason, it is drawn as an essay that grows from the tactile architecture of the delight triggered by Lydia, as fluid-writing bets in a sensorial cognitive politics, in a narrative that transpire as blow breeze between thought and body.
“The opposite of life is not death, but the disenchantment”, clamor Luz Antônio Simas and Luiz Rufino44 Simas LA, Rufino L. Encantamento: sobre política de vida. Rio de Janeiro: Mórula; 2020.(10). The disenchantment is to take the life as goods, the body as merchandise, the land as beusiness, the planet as a flat concrete floor made for automobiles and their in debt owners to cross in high speed. Have you ever stop to think that the material that connects us with the world through our virtual windows is made of silicon and other metals extracted in planet’s guts? So that some can use the “magic” of capitalism, many others are treated as sub-humans in this Global Village.
In a ‘hands’ dialogue’, this writing is weaved as a clamor of life in front of the genocide that devastate us in this times of now. Lygia Clark would be 100 years old in 2020. What would Lygia do if she was here? What group experience would she propose? What of her trajectory is possible to resume as inspiration, as air that feeds the lounges, to go on figuring out ways of living amid the adverse?
To live in the frontier, art of living the great health
I am from the batrachians family: thorough the belly, guts and hands all the perception of the world came to me. I have no memory, my recollections are always related to past perceptions, sensory learnt. […] feeling myself whole, coherent, united, I feel as if I was holding hands with myself. The gesture has the concentration characteristic of the moment of pray. Fusion of polarities, of right and left, of it was and of what it is being. give hand to oneself: very pleased to meet us, I am doing well thank you, this is my moment, I am lonely, I accept being an ‘only’ being, I can also hold hands with another, hold out to your reach, invite him to a communion. The children circle dance always singing is a constant welcoming, to be taken in the land of living, to be a part of this life. To hold hands when dancing is to offer oneself and the other the pleasure of the broken solitude for a moment in the contact of two bodies that, at first, should always be complementary, the full and the empty, open window, an invitation to lean. […] My hans have million years. The are like craters of earth raptured by the passing of thousand-years-old seasons, with rivers running inside, almost on the surface, veins where the blood projected by the heart that feeds all my body with oxygen run, veins bloated, fibrous, raised, elastics and soft as the balloon full of air […] Hands that passed thorough my sensuality as a plow, unfolding, stirring up, raking, hands that twitched my head as a big drawer in disarray11 Clark L. Lygia Clark. Barcelona: Fundación Antoni Tàpies; 1997.(190-192).
Batrachians are in transit beings, neither totally fishes, nor absolutely mammals. Amphibious, are beings in environment transition. In their beginning, tadpoles, live in the water until losing their tails, getting paws, stop swimming to jump the earth. Mammals ar beings in transit, born in water of the womb-nest and balance themselves between the oxygen of swollen veins, the rivers of blood and other liquids that cover the bodies, after the dust where they step, from where they grow, wherever thy go. Lygia says: “I do not have memory”, almost saying ‘I do not have clotted monuments of whatever there is, all in me is flow, it is circle dances holding hands of who I was and who I will be, what lives inside me and what deserts me, whole, cohesive and united in the unending movement of living, where nothing is left as clotted to be taken as monument, the mark of time is condition of its overtaking and its own dilution. I remain being in that which I was and in what I no longer am’.
In this life without compartments, without rigid borders, without abstract divisions, in which all connects and transform in the unstopping flor of living, material and imaterial, human and non-human, art and life are the viceral bet of this woman in a art of living antropophagic. Art that does not admit que arbitrary colonial limits and follows by a visceral knowledge, that is from Earth’s guts, where everything that is keeps connecting and getting thicker in live-web, Mother-Earth-giver of life, Pachamama, Gaia55 Lovelock J. Gaia: um modelo para a dinâmica planetária e celular. In: Thompson WI, organizador. Gaia: uma teoria do conhecimento. São Paulo: Gaia; 2014. p. 79-92.,66 Castro EV, Danowski D. Há mundo por vir? Ensaio sobre os medos e os fins. Florianópolis: Cultura e Barbárie; Instituto Socioambiental; 2014..
This enchanted knowledge, to use the expression recovered by Rufino and Simas44 Simas LA, Rufino L. Encantamento: sobre política de vida. Rio de Janeiro: Mórula; 2020., paradoxically from the materiality of guts, from the hands or from the streets, calls, in reality, the amphibious dimension of existence, that shows itself in the sensory crossroads. Gestational dimension of the bodies that make life on itself to give birth. Watery balloon-womb that pulses and breaths, breaths liquid. Opening spaces inside while waits for the right time to pour into the world, it feeds from the sensory of the body that is and of the body in which makes home; in order to be in the violent passage between being submerged, warm, protected in the dark from the motherly entrails and to be born and to be on mother earth. Birth is water gushing: body being launched in the world, remaking fluids and flows. Give-birth-goodbye is ‘between’: possibility to encounter other textures, sounds, smells, touches. To be as who is always trying the frontier.
The frontier is the fence that separates. It is the colonization mark woking its divisions, hierarchies, exclusions, subjections. we are frontier beings, made through the colonial load. The frontier constitute us, separating from us our story, our ancestry, our ‘terrain ontology’66 Castro EV, Danowski D. Há mundo por vir? Ensaio sobre os medos e os fins. Florianópolis: Cultura e Barbárie; Instituto Socioambiental; 2014.. On the other side, to be on the frontier can also to be between worlds, territories, domains, affirming the hybridization, the anthropophagic operation as an inherit process to be alive. The frontier is the ‘between worlds’, the axial point that articulates the creation, the womb that generates worlds and singular existences.
Gloria Anzaldúa, american, chicana, feminist, lesbian, indigenous, inspired by the mexican philosopher Jorge Vasconcelos, who glimpsed a ‘mixed race’, ‘cosmic race’, ‘the first synthesis race of the globe’, proposes a new conscience, a conscience of the borders, a mixed conscience:
Becouse I, a mestiza, continually move from one culture to the other, because I am in all cultures at the same time, soul between worlds, tres, cuatro, me zumba la cabeza con lo contradictorio. Estoy norteada por todas las voces que me hablan simultaneamente77 Anzaldúa G. La conciencia de La mestiza/Rumo a uma nova consciência. In: Hollanda HB, organizadora. Pensamento feminista: conceitos fundamentais. Rio de Janeiro: Bazar do Tempo; 2019. p. 323-339.(323-324).
It is important to highlight that the mixed conscience of Gloria Anzaldúa does not confuses itself with the Brazilian mixing, this colonial fiction about a peaceful composition between original indigenous, invading whites and blacks taken from the african heart to be explored and killed under the omen of the Capital Holy Church. The Brazilian’s mixing hides the sexual violence against indigenous and black women, the ‘ethnocide’, the slavery, all dissolved in the thin broth of the national whitening project. Here, in this land that we stand, mixing is colonial load and putting up fences, and not going beyond frontiers.
However, for Lygia, as for Anzaldúa, the frontier, the fringes, the edge of the abyss, the intangible and present ‘organic line’, the limit between skin and object-relational re privileged spaces for the creation of oneself, the gestation of worlds to come. Maybe for this reason they have said in a letter to Huy Brett, in 1983: “I only love to work with borderlines”22 Carneiro BS. Relâmpagos com claror: Lygia Clark e Hélio Oiticica, vida como arte. São Paulo: Imaginário; Fapesp; 2004.(143). It is in the frontier, smudging the arbitrary limits between art and life, artist and spectator, body and thought, art and clinic, normal and madness, that Lygia, the spider that she was, designed with ‘antropophagic dribble’ her web of life and death. In a moment of crisis, in the early 1970s, says, quoted by Carneiro22 Carneiro BS. Relâmpagos com claror: Lygia Clark e Hélio Oiticica, vida como arte. São Paulo: Imaginário; Fapesp; 2004.(120):
I battering tooth from loneliness, was obliged to go to a caffe to feel as any other that was there. I was a frontier woman, with frontier work without any defined category.
From this frontier that can be both limit and creation, considering it is foreign to “any defining category”22 Carneiro BS. Relâmpagos com claror: Lygia Clark e Hélio Oiticica, vida como arte. São Paulo: Imaginário; Fapesp; 2004.(120), we took some lines that emerge in the trajectory of the artist that invite us to unfold them singularly in our paths. In her trajectory, Lygia Clark made the dimensions of art and life increasely close, thorough propositions that engaged the participants’ bodies in actions and relationships between them and with objects and materials that defied the normal ways of perceiving. This movement of the tradicional art spectator to the participant, whose aesthetic matter becomes the corporeality-in-relation itself, added a intensive and sensitive dimension to the touch, expanding the affective geography of the body. This movement puts the aesthetic investigation closer to the clinical field, because the effect of the propositions made Lygia88 Clark L. Lygia Clark: uma retrospectiva. São Paulo: Itaú Cultural; 2014.(166) interested by what was ‘beyond the body thing’.
In my work the ‘body memory’ outcrops: it is not about living a virtual, but about feeling a concrete; the sensations are brought, revived and transformed in the body, through the ‘relational object’ or the direct touch of my hands. The ‘relational object’ in contact with the body makes it emerge by its physical qualities and affective memory, bringing experiences that the verbal cannot detect.
The work with relational objects, the last moment of Lygia’s aesthetic path, turns to the subjective processes that constitute the body, what she calls the ‘phantasmatic of the body’. Through the ‘structuring of the self”, the artist launches herself in the inventory of affective marks on the bodies and in the investigation of the healing processes triggered by the objects.
Lygia Clark creates propositions driven by a curative force that we can approximate to the ethos of health care. In a letter to Hélio Oiticica, she refers to the process experienced by a black boy in a class at the Sorbonne, in which the boy reports the effects of racism on him - issues around assaulting/being assaulted, just walking with his head down, never looking people in the subway, just sit in the back of the classroom - and how he managed to get out of these states of body in his work with the artist99 Figueiredo L, organizador. Cartas 1964-1974. Rio de Janeiro: Editora UFRJ; 1996.(253-254).
The processes of activation/processing/elaboration of the phantasmatic of the body/in the body are processes of health production, of self-healing. Health understood as an expansion of existential possibilities, and not as an adaptation to a universal and transcendent norm. Health as activation of vital plasticity, as the ability to get in touch with the body’s phantasmatic in order to detach from it, establishing others of oneself in this incessant flow of life-death that is living.
[…] the great health - one that not only has, but is constantly acquired and must be acquired, because it is always abandoned and needs to be abandoned1010 Nietzsche F. A gaia ciência. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras; 2001.(286).
This ‘art of healing’ proposed by Lygia consists in tragically making life itself a matter of experimentation and of its aesthetic propositions, collective essays to incarnate (the great) health. The inseparability between the collective and singular planes of the aesthetic experience, between oneself-art-health-life, appears in the same letter to Hélio:
Sometimes I unlock people in one experiment, and sometimes I need more time. I had thought before doing this psychoanalysis of becoming an analyst, but now I want to continue on the ‘frontier’, because that’s what I am and it’s no use wanting to be less of a frontier. Coming out; and when I think of the years I spent here when there weren’t these young people I work with all year [...] ...I gritted my teeth in loneliness and then, coming to the Sorbonne, I found the right way to enrich by giving me back through of their elaboration, gratifying me and also cleaning up this bar that I am; and this serves as therapy for myself99 Figueiredo L, organizador. Cartas 1964-1974. Rio de Janeiro: Editora UFRJ; 1996.(254).
Health as the possibility of putting ourselves in the meetings, as did Lygia quoted by Rolnik1111 Rolnik S. Uma terapêutica para tempos desprovidos de poesia. In: Diserens C, Rolnik S, organizadores. Lygia Clark: da obra ao acontecimento. Somos o molde. A você cabe o sopro. São Paulo: Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; 2006. p. 13-27.(15) “[...] I work with what I see, with what I feel, with what appears”. It is about recreating the ways of ‘being with’ based on what human and non-human bodies present in the act of meeting. As Clark says, according to Carneiro22 Carneiro BS. Relâmpagos com claror: Lygia Clark e Hélio Oiticica, vida como arte. São Paulo: Imaginário; Fapesp; 2004.(136-137):
[...] This feeling of totality camouflaged in the act needs to be received with joy in order to teach how to live on the basis of the precarious. It is necessary to absorb this sense of the precarious in order to discover the meaning of existence in the immanence of the act.
The precarious dimension in Lygia’s work leads us to affirm health as the creation of possible sensitive bodies, health pregnant with creation, poiesis, a ‘poetic health’, which has nothing to do with a stable and well-adapted psychic health. Suely Rolnik states that Clark perceives health as the vitality of the ability to create1111 Rolnik S. Uma terapêutica para tempos desprovidos de poesia. In: Diserens C, Rolnik S, organizadores. Lygia Clark: da obra ao acontecimento. Somos o molde. A você cabe o sopro. São Paulo: Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; 2006. p. 13-27.. This perception dialogues with what would give meaning to existence for Winnicott, according to Rolnik, anchoring the feeling that life is worth living. For the author, a favorable human development has to do precisely with this ability to relate to the world in a creative way1111 Rolnik S. Uma terapêutica para tempos desprovidos de poesia. In: Diserens C, Rolnik S, organizadores. Lygia Clark: da obra ao acontecimento. Somos o molde. A você cabe o sopro. São Paulo: Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; 2006. p. 13-27..
From this perspective, the experience of health refers to the living person’s ability to experience the irresolvable paradox between the world simultaneously apprehended as a shape and as a force, since life is pure incessant flow of creation. It is not about solving the paradox, but about creating a body that can withstand the excitability of the living in the face of the precarious, the unfinished, the becoming.
Breaths to captivate the experience of care
At this moment, we will share some memories of experiments that were created influenced by Lygia’s work in the desire to activate breaths that release meanings to the adventure of living and weave states of poetic health.
The image above comes from a dance encounter in therapeutic perspective with P., autistic boy, dancing with a water bag. The object inspired by one of the relational objects of Lygia’s structuring of self.
The animal-object in its own movement conducts the human-animal gestures, creating with it a new body: dancing human-animal-object. Being of passing translucent water. Being of gushing red water. Between transparency and obscurity: the experience of being and seeing through touch. See through crosses. Seeing hands, skin, plastic.
The displacement of sensoriality in dance, between the body and the object, can make it possible and accessible to those who present sensory systems said to be dysfunctional. When it does not impose a specific way of moving, it makes room for new gestures to emerge from listening and investigating oneself. When the body touches the organic nature of sensory systems, the objects, at the same time, mobilize their intensive nature, putting together bodies that support their existence, processes and ways of perceiving and living in the world.
Lygia’s works and objects, as well as dance and with dance, make it possible to become an autistic body that supports its organic and poetic nature, while respecting its needs and desires. With time and space, sustaining the silences so dear to many of these bodies, movement and object become the foundation for the creation of so-called autistic bodies that perceive themselves, that relate to other bodies and explore environments.
In the clinical process of art, life is strengthened.
Contact. Contour. Caution.
In the touch of objects and other bodies, each one expands, opens up and takes up more space. It creates roots that come out of its ends, mixing with so many others. Flowering roots, decorated, that not only connect body to body, but that mix them, making them one. Multidimensional, multisensory, collective-body. Textures create cracks through which one is penetrated, filled, taken.
Occupation. Action to occupy. Occupy the space with the body. Live in the area. Live together. Resist. Reexist. The image above is a record of the collective proposition inspired by the work ‘The journey’ by Lygia Clark in the day the Nucleus (Research, Studies and Meeting in Dance Center) of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) found the Occupation of Amaro Cavalcanti State School. Amaro Cavalcanti was one of the 50 state schools occupied in May 2016 by high school students from the state network who claimed better education conditions for students and teachers, in addition to opposing various measures taken by the federal government at the time. The occupation of students that year was an experience that broke out in several states of the country.
In the occupation of Amaro Cavalcanti, students slept, cooked, held assemblies, conversations and cultural activities with the supporters of the occupation in the public space of the school. Right away, we realized that there was no leader, everyone participated and took turns in the tasks. That day, they took us to see the building, its various corners, its layers of memory. In a corner of an unused court, we found several art books that had never been used, still unopened. We opened a book and found Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica on page 94. We talked about the importance of these artists’ work in our perspective on art, and they got interested.
We went down to the main balcony of the building, and a group of students was getting ready to clean the school; and then we joined them, called other occupants and cleaned the floor together, inspired by a collective research practice, ‘floor cleaning’ in which, through the everyday action of cleaning the floor, we create an atmosphere to feel the body, the other’s body and space, activating a shared presence. After cleaning the floor, we stretch out on a wheel and spread out the fabric to dive together on a journey through space. It is difficult to establish silence, but it made itself present. After the first person was wrapped in the fabric, carried collectively and placed on the ground, a network was created between us and what we consider to be the most relevant, the encounter, was woven. The space sculpted a body that simultaneously cut that space. The fabric that separated was the same that connected, weaving the skin of the encounter.
#OcupaçãoAmaroCavalcanti taught us that there is no subject more important than life itself and living together. The inspiration in Lygia’s work was like the fabric itself, the skin of contact, which enabled us to engender a space of collective care, an experience in which the intimacy shared in the contact and the political attitude met.
Surfaces of bodies covered with fabric, plastic surfaces involving materials that inhabit us, water, air, layers of sensations reconfiguring ways of perceiving, ways of feeling, ways of being. Human and non-human, organic and inorganic, extensive and intensive, pushing the experience towards the undifferentiated primordial chaos, before every possible frontier, to operate new compositions from this point, new ‘corpositions’. Continuum of experience revealing all the contingency of later divisions and inaugurating a greater porosity between the self-world borders.
It could be a mandala, like that of the visitors of the Museum of Images of the Unconscious, however, it is a Rosette, a collective proposition with relational objects remade in our research ‘Skin memory, membrane of the soul: body, thought and subjectivity’, carried out between 2017 and 2019 at the Psychology Institute of the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), Niterói campus (Approval 68482017.2.0000.5243, Research Ethics Council of the Fluminense Federal University/Plataforma Brasil).
It is a mandala rosette of bodies connected by feet and hands, invisible elements and many others that are unspeakable. Lying on the floor, eyes closed, we lose our regular perceptual and proprioceptive references, making room for unusual self-experiments: dilution of body contour, body-object fusion, transfiguration of body experience, small dreams, image production, insights. We present below some fragments of records from the experience of the research team from which this image comes:
I feel a great difficulty in ‘disconnecting myself from my own thoughts’. Little by little, the contact with objects produces a new relationship with the body, in which the boundary between them vanishes. There is an oceanic sensation, in which the body seems to have no more limits, projecting itself in a fluid but dense way. This is even more evident in the contact with M., there is an extension of my body with hers through the touch between her hands, making it difficult to define boundaries. There seems to be a dense energy in this connection more specifically. The water bags in contact with my skin also produce an interesting experience, intensifying this ocean body. There is a layer of me, which is characterized precisely by this oceanic density, which is summoned, bringing positive and negative nuances to my way of being in the world. (Participant 1, first day of workshop).
[…] My other hand, connected to M., does not touch hers completely, making me feel the air passing through that space. This sensation begins to expand, producing the experience of a floating body. Images are produced, I see in the place of my arm linked to M.’s a bird’s wing, as if I myself were summoning that dimension. I hear the birds singing outside, which enhances this way of being. Later that day I need to have a complicated conversation with someone close to me and I put myself in this circumstance lightly, unlike what I usually do. There is no rational formalization of what takes place in this subjective movement: this other possibility of the body is produced in a plane of intangible intensities, which is captured through an incarnated knowledge of oneself. (Participant 1, second day of workshop).
We closed the workshop with a conversation about what had happened and how the body and mind compound reacted to the process. I confess that I remained airborne for some time. Even after the dynamic ended, my body and mind continued to float through space and signify whatever it was that struck me. I believe that more than a sea of immersions and sensations, it was a space for the integration of oneself and the other, of unrestricted body perception and confrontation. It was speechless therapy, an autonomy of recreation. (Participant 2).
Throughout the process, that feeling of anguish that was initially present had increased, however, it was not an anguish caused by the objects, but an anguish that was in me and was ‘waking up’ as the objects were being placed. I sat down and I still felt tense, they handed me the bag full of air and I had a hard time popping it, but I did it. We drew a picture of what had happened there, I drew hands that tried to hold something but couldn’t. Then we sat in a circle and listened to my colleagues’ reports. That day I couldn’t say a single word, I just listened. In fact, to this day I don’t know exactly what happened there, I know that it caused me a feeling of anguish and that it woke me up to a problem that I had to solve. (Participant 3).
There are countless paths opened by these researches, paths of life, exchange, learning, healing. We highlight here the subjectivity-body-world immanence, the reconfiguration through experience with the relational objects of the self/world, individual/collective, human/non-human relationship, revealing an unimaginable connection and contiguity in the traditional perspective of knowledge production, which is constituted precisely by the crack itself/world and by the asymmetry and separation of subject/object from knowledge.
The reports reveal the body-thought-subjectivity continuum and unveil a thought that comes from this web, and not from a privileged, aseptic topos, which operates through distancing, analysis, dissection. In this field, we approach a complex dimension of thought that has in the body its condition of possibility and its inseparability from gesture. Feeling-thinking-acting are three dimensions of the same movement that the aesthetic-political path proposed by Lygia helps to reactivate.
In this movement of health production that Lygia’s path inspires, it is essential to give way to her poetic and practical heirs, Gina Ferreira1212 Ferreira G. “De Volta Pra Casa: prática de reabilitação com pacientes crônicos em Saúde Mental”. In: Pitta AM, organizador. Reabilitação Psicossocial no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec; 1996. p. 80-88. and Lula Wanderley1313 Wanderley L. O dragão pousou no espaço: arte contemporânea, sofrimento psíquico e o objeto relacional de Lygia Clark. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco; 2002.. Lygia accompanied them, interested in the possible consequences of their proposal with psychiatric patients. Gina Ferreira and Lula Wanderley continue to be fundamental references for the Brazilian Psychiatric Reform and have a life dedicated to the construction of anti-asylum policies, sustaining in their practices the precariousness, the event and the presence as indexes of ‘poetic health’ embodied in Lygia Clark’s propositions. From Paracambi to Engenho de Dentro, Lygia’s threads helped to weave practices to extricate madness and the body.
We return to the questions that drove us at the beginning of this writing: What would Lygia do if she were here? What collective experience would it offer us? What of your trajectory is it possible to take up as inspiration, as air that feeds your lungs, so that we can continue inventing ways to live in the midst of the adverse?
We are in crisis, we are at war... How then can we take the crisis to a critic and, why not, a clinician? Lygia’s work is also a work on the verge of crisis. Crisis of the perception of being a woman in a men’s world. Crisis of a postpartum. Art crisis. Life crisis. Cry of life asking for passage in a woman’s body. Lygia’s crisis, established in the field of arts, first proposes the breaking of the frame, makes the work leave the wall, no longer being appreciated, exhibited and becoming an ‘animal’, ‘‘living sculptures’, ‘relaxation’, connecting art and life so that ‘all may be proposers’. ‘Walking’, Lygia finds the other. She realizes that the ‘house is the body’, that the ‘body is the house’; and she goes on dedicating herself to ‘what is behind the corporeal thing’ in an ‘experimental exercise of freedom’.
However, what is the importance of the opening unveiled by the artist’s work in a territory like ours in these times now?
Brazil. brazilwood. The colonizer gave the territory he invaded the name of the non-human being which was first explored, the brazilwood, one of the several species of trees that sustain our soil for millennia. Before exploring the wood, the colonizer raped the land, violated the body, condemned the magic, the laughter of the bodies. The first target of disenchantment, of colonial burden44 Simas LA, Rufino L. Encantamento: sobre política de vida. Rio de Janeiro: Mórula; 2020. is the body, the sensitive, together with its separation from nature and its collective and connective dimension. The very widespread idea of humanity is that of disconnected, separate, anthropocentric beings.
Lygia’s work restores the collective, sensory dynamics, the collective body. Restores the sense of delight. Celebrating her centenary of birth here means making her be born again in our gesture of writing, our collective sharing, giving birth to her insistence on the life that unfolds amidst the hardships and cracks of the earth. Centenary? ‘My hands are millions of years old’, laughs Lygia, defying our attempts to capture her in phrases, meanings and temporal coagulations. Blood gushes. ‘My time is different’.
Financial support: non-existent
Orcid (Open Researcher and Contributor ID).
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12Ferreira G. “De Volta Pra Casa: prática de reabilitação com pacientes crônicos em Saúde Mental”. In: Pitta AM, organizador. Reabilitação Psicossocial no Brasil. São Paulo: Editora Hucitec; 1996. p. 80-88.
13Wanderley L. O dragão pousou no espaço: arte contemporânea, sofrimento psíquico e o objeto relacional de Lygia Clark. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco; 2002.
Publication in this collection
22 Nov 2021
Date of issue
31 Aug 2020
20 May 2021