---------------------consider poetry t ~ o

I will give a personal example: I consider poetry to be one of the most important 

components of human existence, not so much in terms of value, but rather as a 

functional element. We should prescribe poetry in the same way as vitamins.

Félix Guattari, São Paulo, 1982[1]

The Body’s Contagious Memory

Lygia Clark’s Return to the Museum

Translated by Rodrigo Nunes

Suely Rolnik

In 1969, Lygia Clark wrote: “At the very moment when the artist digests the object, he is digested by society which has already found him a title and a bureaucratic function: he will be the future engineer of leisure, an activity that has no effect 

whatsoever on the equilibrium of social structures.”[5] 

This short text, a kind of 

prophecy, is proof of her acute lucidity regarding the perverse effects of cultural capitalism in the territory of art, as early as 1969 when the new regime was just barely visible on the horizon, before it became more clearly established from the end of the 1970s on. 

The forms of critique that Lygia put into action in her proposals over the following two decades would find their resonance only ten years after her death, in the recent extradisciplinary drift undertaken by the new generation. In the face of this obvious resonance, and consequently, of the collective support that was now offered for the artist’s critical gesture – which had at the same time been wiped out by the way that her recent work had been incorporated by the market –, I decided to undertake a project for the construction of memory around her artistic trajectory, which I developed from 2002 to 2007. 

The intention of this project was to create the conditions for reactivating the impact of the work, at the very moment of its return to the institutional terrain of art.

Félix Guattari and Suely Rolnik, Micropolítica: Cartografias do desejo, São Paulo, Vozes, 1986; 7th ed. revised and augmented, 2007, p. 269. English translation: Molecular Revolution in Brazil, New York: Semiotext/MIT, 2007 (forthcoming). French translation: Micropolitiques. Paris: Le Seuil (Les empêcheurs de penser en rond), 2007.


"I have been feeling so miserable/anguished. I wake up very traumatized encroached by the unconsciousness." 

Lygia Clarke