Sergio Camargo (1930-1990)
Sergio Camargo (1930-1990)

Untitled (Relief No. 325)

Sergio Camargo (1930-1990)
Untitled (Relief No. 325)
signed, dated, and numbered 'Camargo, Paris 10/70, no. 325' (on the verso)
painted wood relief
48 x 61 ¾ x 2 in. (121.9 x 156.8 x 5.1 cm.)
Executed in Paris in 1970.
Galleria Artestudio, Macerata, Italy.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
London, Gimpels Fils, Camargo, 17 November-5 December 1970, no. 47.

Lot Essay

This work is sold with a certificate of authenticity signed by Raquel Arnaud, dated 17 October 2016 and numbered 13830.

A student of Emilio Pettoruti and Lucio Fontana as a young artist in Buenos Aires, Camargo came into artistic maturity in Paris during the 1950s and 1960s. He was drawn at first to the teachings of Gaston Bachelard at the Sorbonne and to the studio of Constantin Brancusi, whose sculptural volumes formed an early point of reference. By 1963, he began to translate Constructivist principles into the conceptual monochromes for which he is best known. Camargo’s iconic white reliefs in wood and marble remark upon an international history of late modernist practices, engaging in different ways the unfolding geometries of Neo-concretism (Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica), the optical vibrations of kineticism (Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jesús Rafael Soto), and the iterative systems of conceptualism (Sol Lewitt, Robert Ryman). Meditations on the nature and limits of order and disorder, stasis and seriality, movement and multiplicity, these reliefs suggest the shifting topology of sculptural space and its dematerialization.

Camargo’s reliefs splay open the syntax of what he called “empirical geometry,” incorporating passages of light and air within a labyrinth of bias-cut, wooden cylinders placed closely, at varying angles, atop a flat wooden board. “This process has brought the sculptor’s material (wood) and light into a new relationship, a kind of reciprocal relationship in which matter is seen as a function of light and light is seen as a function of matter,” Guy Brett wrote of Camargo’s sculpture from this time. “Light becomes body, and body becomes light.”[1] Sculptural volume dissolves across the present relief, its flickering chiaroscuro cascading in rhythmic, organic waves. Among the largest of fifty reliefs that Camargo exhibited at Gimpel Fils in 1970, No. 325 projects an expansive perceptual field, its profusion of faceted cylinders rising and falling across the continuous surface, tangibly mediating between the material and the immaterial.

Abby McEwen, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

1 Guy Brett, “Sculpture by Camargo at Gimpel Fils until June 8,” Studio International 175 (June 1968): 316.

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