Sergio Camargo (1930-1990)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF RUDOLF AND LEONORE BLUM
Sergio Camargo (1930-1990)

Relief no. 180

Sergio Camargo (1930-1990)
Relief no. 180
signed, titled, inscribed and dated 'Camargo Relief 180 Paris 67' (on the reverse)
oil on wood
9 7/8 x 9 7/8in. (25 x 25cm.)
Executed in 1967
Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Zurich.
Private Collection (acquired from the above in 1968).
Thence by descent to the present owner.
Zurich, Gimpel & Hanover Galerie, Camargo, 1968, no. 28.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.
Post lot text
Please note this work is accompanied by a certificate from the Estate.

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Leonie Grainger
Leonie Grainger

Lot Essay

‘The relief’s material structure – a dense compacted matrix suggesting the earth, the organic, the vegetable, the crystalline – becomes the means of manifesting its opposite: the immaterial, light, air, in a mysterious and beautiful unity.’

A whitewashed square, marked by rounded nodes of wood which jut out from the work’s surface, Sergio Camargo’s Relief no. 180 is an exquisitely sensuous exploration of material, light and shadow. Executed in 1967, the cylindrical chips of wood covering the work’s surface are the signature feature of Camargo’s sensitive, probing work of the 1960s, but in this relief they take on a particularly formal elegance that draws the viewer into active collaboration. Interested in the way in which his forms interact with light over the surface of the relief, Camargo offers a ‘canvas’ whose every square centimetre alters and fluctuates; as the light surrounding the work changes, the miniature play of shadows cast by the small cylinders over the surface gradually shift, re-creating the work anew. What’s more, Camargo engages the viewer in the act of creation, asking them to find order and pattern in the dynamic composition of light and matter, both in the relief’s juxtapositions of shadow and in the wood itself. The chips organised into perpendicular lines, the work seems to exude a subtle sense of symmetry – only when we look for the structure of this symmetry, it becomes elusive and difficult to pin down.

The 1960s were a decade in which Camargo eschewed the rigidly geometric Constructivism he had espoused in the 1950s for a more sensorial style that shared affinities with the new highly textural canvases and reliefs being produced across Europe by the likes of Fontana, Klein, Manzoni and Uecker. Developing his signature reliefs to great acclaim throughout the 1960s, he received accolades at the Paris Biennale in 1963, the São Paulo Biennale in 1965, and the Venice Biennale in 1966. During this time Fontana in particular was a strong influence over the artist: Camargo had studied under Fontana at the Academia Altamira in Buenos Aires in the 1940s, and his work reflects the principles of movement, light and space formulated in the famous White Manifesto produced by Fontana and his associates in Buenos Aires at that time. After time spent in Paris during the 1950s, where the artist also befriended Constantin Brancusi, the Europe-wide explosion of a new kind of materially sensitive artistic practice in Fontana’s wake revivified Camargo, returning to his roots at Altamira. In fact, in 1967, the same year as he produced Relief no. 180, Camargo made his admiration for the Italian artist clear with his Hommage à Fontana – another relief where he portrayed the singular vertical void seen here.

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