O eu e o tu



O eu e o tu (The I and the You)

by Lygia Clark
Interactive art

View an image of the artwork

Two figures are clad in blue overalls. Their faces are almost entirely hidden by large hoods, leaving only their mouths showing. They hold on to each other, poised as if they are about to dance, but there is a stiffness in their posture. They seem to refuse any sense of movement, instead standing like chess pieces, rigid and expressionless. Connecting them seems to be a flexible black pipe, presenting them as a single entity.

While they both appear human in form, the presence of the piping and the absence of any motion or emotion suggest that they act as some sort of machine or robot. The garments that envelope them are cold and homogeneous. The wall of concrete behind them, the little of the setting that we can see, has an industrial feel. They seem removed from the everyday, existing instead within a fantastical realm, shared only with each other.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou

Two individuals sport azure hazmat suits. The costumes span from head to ankle, but barely seem built to safeguard from toxic fumes. The hands and the bottom half of the face are uncovered, enabling vapours to snake into nostrils, and dangerous substances to meet with skin. If the purpose of these coats is to provide protection, its weak points are positioned in the worst possible places: those where contact is most likely.

But perhaps this is precisely the reason for these gaps in the material: to encourage touch. Those who don Lygia Clark’s outfits, however sheltered from the outside world, may hold hands and, if desired, lock lips. Connected by an umbilical-cord-like pipe, they are inseparable, with each partner encouraged to draw the other towards them. Though the couple may not be safe from harm, they can waltz together in the security of unity.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

Visit Lygia Clark's website here. Find more information about O eu e o tu on the MoMA website. Tatiane Schilaro has reviewed the artist's MoMA retrospective for Hyperallergic.

Question of the day

Does art create a bond with its audience? Share your thoughts on Facebook, Patreon, or Twitter.

Yes. I would argue that is often the central goal of a work – either through challenge or kinship. Nostalgia and trauma are both valuable.

– Eric A. Anderson, game developer (Myst series, The Witness) (via The Brief →)

Not always. Sometimes it distances and isolates the audience.

– Leah Hayes, graphic novelist (Not Funny Ha-Ha) and musician (via The Brief →)

Read more: South American visual art