signed, titled and dated Paris, 64 Relief on the reverse
Galleria La Polena, Genova
Galleria del Naviglio, Milano
London, Signals Gallery, 1964
Paris, Salon de la Jeune Sculpture, 1964
Venice, XXXIII Biennale de Venezia 1966
Genova, Galleria La Polena, 1967
Milano, Galleria del Naviglio, 1967
Roma, Galleria l'Obelisco, 1967
Torino, Galleria Notizie, 1968
Born in Rio de Janeiro, the Constructivist sculptor Sergio Camargo studied in Buenos Aires under the tutelage of such modernist luminaries as Emilio Pettoruti and Lucio Fontana followed by a brief sojourn in Paris where he studied philosophy and sculpture. Upon his return to Brazil in 1950, Camargo encountered a country thoroughly enmeshed in the utopian manifestations of modernism and its impact on the artistic production of local artists.
Executed in 1964, Relief reflects Sergio Camargo's signature approach to sculpture simultaneously rooted in the constructivist practices of the first half of the twentieth century and in the informal and abstract geometric tendencies that defined Brazil's post war vanguard artists primarily defined through the developments of the Concrete and Neoconcrete art movements. Camargo's constructions typically consist of painted monochromatic reliefs fashioned from angled wooden cubic or cylindrical forms arranged in a seemingly haphazard mode. The sensuous and classic forms of these works simultaneously recall the surrealist and biomorphic abstractions of Arp and Brancusi while the reliance on pure form suggest the Concretists adherence to notions of rational non-objectivity. Likewise, the effects produced by the interplay of contrasting edges and curves activates Camargo's surfaces and thus suggest the interest of the Concretist in the visual experiments of Optic Art. And, while Camargo appears to have absorbed the teachings of the first wave of Concrete artists (i.e., Lothar Charoux, Geraldo de Barros, and Luis Sacilotto), in many ways his work may be viewed as a link between this early group and the Neoconcrete artists that emerged in the late 1950s (i.e., Lygia Clark, Helio Oiticica, and Lygia Pape). Camargo's apparent restraint and economy of resources meshes well with the formal rigor espoused by the earlier group; however, the visual and tactile qualities of his reliefs suggest the Neoconcretist exploration of sensory experimentation. Thus Camargo's bold geometric constructions cut across the philosophical differences between these landmark movements thereby asserting his critical and unique role as a nexus between these two pioneering perspectives and its impact on the history of mid-century abstraction.
Marysol Nieves, Independent Curator
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