DRCLAS Hispanic Cultures Seminar: The Legacy of Lygia Clark's Structuring of the Self


Monday, April 10, 2017, 12:00pm


Barker Center, Nebel Room 359, 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge

For more information see the DRCLAS website. 

Lygia Clark (1920–1988) was a leading abstract artist at the forefront of the Neoconcrete movement in Brazil. She developed her artistic practice by increasingly experimenting with sensory experience, leading to her Objetos sensoriais (Sensorial objects). These objects—often made of modest and everyday materials such as air, plastic, and seashells—were meant to be touched and manipulated by the spectator, exploring the body and eventually the relation between bodies. She referred to this type of collective work as a “ritual without myth.” Subsequently, Clark developed a series of therapeutic propositions that engaged with subjectivity itself. Known as the Estructuraçaõ do self (Structuring of the self), this therapeutic work with individuals used what she called Objetos relacionais (Relational objects), which she placed on the body of her clients. This session brings together two of Clark’s engaged disciples: psychologist Gina Ferreira and artist and therapist Lula Wanderley. They each employ Clark’s therapy in present day contexts for psychiatric care in Brazil. The session includes film documentation that introduces Clark’s turn to therapy and is followed by a 10-minute presentation by each guest on their clinical work, after which will we open it to a conversation with members of the audience.


* Program will be in Portuguese.


Gina Ferreira is a psychologist, specialist in Laps Fiocruz Social Psychiatry, and pursing a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Barcelona. She worked with renowned psychiatrist Nise da Silveira as technical coordinator of Casa das Palmeiras for five years. She trained with psychiatrist R.D. Laing in London at the Therapeutic Community of Mayfield Road in 1980, specializing in clinic psychosis. In 1996 she was Coordinator of Mental Health in the Municipality of Angra dos Reis, creating technical, political and social strategies for the social rehabilitation of long-term psychiatric patients, for which she won the International Award of the World Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation in Rotterdam.  She studied the Structuring of the Self method with Lygia Clark and was authorized by the artist to use the method in her clinical practice. She also works on the training and formation of new professionals. She was invited to the In Transit Seminar in Berlin by art professor and performance artist Eleonora Sabião. She also participated in MoMA’s Annual Seminar with a presentation of her work: “A Clinical Case of Psychosis and the Structuring of the Self by Lygia Clark.” Ferreira is a professor at the Mental Health Superior School of the Ministry of Health and at the Angel Viana Superior School of Dance.

Lula Wanderley collaborated as a graphic artist with newspapers and magazines, and started working with visual poetry in Recife. Simultaneously, he studied medicine, graduating from the Federal University of Pernambuco. Since 1976, he collaborated with renowned psychiatrist Nise da Silveira, working at the Casa das Palmeiras in Rio de Janeiro. Invited by Silveira and Mário Pedrosa, he participated in the project to reformulate / reimagine the Museum of Images of the Unconscious. He also collaborated with Lygia Clark on her research on art/body/psyche. At the request of the Tápies Foundation (Barcelona) and of MoMA (New York), he assisted in the interpretation of Clark’s work for the formulation of retrospectives. He created the Espaço Aberto ao Tempo (EAT, where he is currently the technical coordinator): an institution focused on working with psychotics, which has as one of its main goals the search for an experimental and poetic clinical practice.

Moderated by Sergio Delgado Moya, Associate Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University, and Kaira M. Cabañas, Associate Professor in Art History, School of Art and Art History, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Event co-organized by ARTS@DRCLAS and the Hispanic Cultures Seminar at the Mahindra Humanities Center.

Free and open to the public. Registration requiredRSVP at pibarra@fas.harvard.edu