In Bixinha (2018), Lyz Parayzo materializes reflections on the history of Brazilian art and the violence experienced by non-normative, dissident, and transsexual bodies, as well as their tactcs of resistance. The work at times extrapolates its condition as sculpture, potentially being used as a defensive “weapon” in the artists performances. Prior to these sculptures, Parayzo created a series of ornaments entitled jóias bélicas [war jewelry], meant for daily use. The jóias bélicas and the Bixinhas, with their sharp edges and aggressive appearance, reflect defense strategies in response to the violence to which these dissident bodies are subjected.

Composed of cut, folded, and assembled aluminum circles, the work is also a direct reference to the series of artworks Bichos [Critter] by Lygia Clark (1920–1988), which are participatory and modular sculptures meant to be manipulated and altered in form by the audience. Bichos are the most emblematic works by Clark, who participated in the neoconcrete movement that emerged in Rio de Janeiro in the late 1950s. Clark opposed the idea of a purely rational, industrial geometric abstraction, creating an organic interpretation of it. In circumscribing the skeletal forms of a “critter” [bicho] at the junction of its parts, its spine at the hinges, the artist transformed a set of metal plates into beings with on fixed forms or dimensions. Taking into account sensorial perception and intuition, in her work Clark sought to promote the interaction between audience and object.

In Bixinha, Parayzo rejects an assumed passivity and prescriptiveness in the manipulation of Clark's Bichos. Here, manipulating the works provokes an opposite effect: Bixinha seeks to repel rather than to attract. The supposedly afectionnate use of the term “bicho” in its diminutve and feminine form is a pejoratve nickname for “efeminate” men. By employing the term as the title of her work, the artist challenges stereotypes attributed to this kind of femininity, subverting the presumed docility and passivity of these bodies.


*Text for the exhibiton catalogue Feminist Histories: Artists Afer 2000 São Paulo Museum of Art [MASP], São Paulo, Brazil. 23.8.2019 - 17.11.2019