Lydia Okumura in Mousse

Dentro, o que existe Fora 

Galeria Jaqueline Martins, São Paulo

Until March 11, 2017

From Buffalo, USA, the exhibition opens at the Galeria Jaqueline Martins, in São Paulo, before going to Utah, and then Texas, Pasadena and New York. The artist has presented several works outside of Brazil, where she has settled. Her special room was awarded one of the 10 awards at the 1977 São Paulo Biennial, occupied the Espaço Arena of the Pinacoteca in 1981 and she had a special room in the 1983 Biennial. In 1984 she simultaneously occupied MAM (Museu de Arte Moderna) and Galeria São Paulo.

“Lydia Okumura is a sorcerer artist. Give her a space – any space – and she will enchant it by means of painting, string or glass, with inevitably surprising results”, wrote Ellen Schwartz, exhibitions director of the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, which exhibited Lydia in 1980. From February 4th, the public will have the chance to appreciate a retrospective show of her main works in Dentro, o que existe fora, at the Galeria Jaqueline Martins. The exhibition will occupy the entire first floor with installations and works on paper, drawings and projects originally presented in the 1970s and 1980s.

Lydia has always considered the meeting point between the wall and floor to be of intrinsic importance for her art. This is the case of the deep blue corner installation, Untitled I, which she presented for the first time in 1981 at the Medellín Biennial, recreated for the Independent Art Fair in New York in March 2015 and now presents in Brazil.

When the artist moved to New York in 1974 to attend the Pratt Graphics Center, her work continued to explore formal and spatial arrangements, both in installations and on paper. Painting began to be directly incorporated in the wall to connect shapes to pieces of string and lines drawn in graphite, while the works on paper looked to the architecture with the intention of expanding two-dimensional spaces into three dimensions.

In one of her first works, Different Dimensions of Reality II (1972/2014), which will also feature in the exhibition, a concise and wavy structure extends from the two-dimensional space of the wall to the floor. With a palette of tones ranging from dark grey to white, the work seems to either be moving into the wall, or sprouting from it. Several subsequent installations also seem to exist between the two and three dimensions.

“I never try to make a space something that it isn’t, but to reassert it and expand its possibilities”, states the artist, who last exhibited these seminal works in Brazil in 1984, at MAM.

Okumura also explored natural landscape creating three open-air works in 1972, in the garden of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea in Campinas. They were built on the lawn, exploring the open space and using readymade objects. In Positive/Negative, Okumura dug the ground in the (negative) format of a transparent, acrylic dome, and created a small rounded (positive) mound of earth, displaced from the terrain. The dome was then placed over the newly-formed hole demonstrating the earth’s respiration. These images are also part of the retrospective.