Sergio de Camargo

Large Split Relief No.34/4/74


Not on display

Sergio de Camargo 1930–1990
Original title
Grand relief fendu No. 34/4/74
Polyvinyl acetate paint on limewood on plywood support
Object: 2153 × 921 × 273 mm
Purchased 1965

Display caption

Brazilian artist Camargo lived in Paris from 1961 to 1974. While living there he made a number of monochrome white works composed of cylindrical pieces of diagonally cut wood, including Large Split Relief. These reliefs, which resemble crystalline growth, generate a play of light and shadow across their surface to explore the organic and rhythmic disposition of the wooden pieces. At the same time, the work highlights the natural material roughness of the wood creating a dialogue between the organic textures of nature and the carefully crafted character of art.

Gallery label, May 2012

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Catalogue entry

Sergio de Camargo born 1930

T00797 Grand Relief fendu No.34/4/74 (Large Split Relief No.34/4/74) 1964-5

Inscribed 'Camargo | Paris' and 'Camargo | Paris 1965' on back of panel
Relief of split limewood cylinders on plywood backing, painted white, 83 3/4 x 36 1/4 x 10 3/4 (212 x 92 x 27)
Purchased from the artist through Signals London (Grant-in-Aid) 1965
Exh: Comparaisons, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, March 1965 (87 bis) as 'Composition'; Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs Brésiliens, Galerie Cavalero, Antibes, May-June 1965 (works not listed)
Repr: Guy Brett, Camargo (London 1966), pl. 39; Edward Lucie-Smith, Movements in Art since 1945 (London 1969), pl.546

According to the artist (letter of 57 January 1966), this was made in December 1964 and January 1965 and was one of a series of four reliefs of this format executed from July 1963 onwards. The first of these was exhibited with two other, smaller works at the 3rd Paris Biennale of 1963 when he won the International Prize for Sculpture (coll. Alix de Rothschild). The second, exhibited at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio, was bought by the government of the State of Guanabara and placed in a school, the Roma school, at Rio de Janeiro. The third was shown at the São Paulo Bienal of 1965 and, with four other works, won him the Gold Medal for a Brazilian Sculptor at this Bienal. The Tate's relief was the fourth.

'This phase, on which I am still working, is a response to a need to dematerialise the work. This means the culmination of the transition from representational figuration to a real space capable of having significance in itself and of having the power to move the emotions because it has been freed from every other intentional suggestion. Light obviously plays an essential formal part in giving the work its visual existence and even its own spatial dimensions. The splits in the elements which I use have the purpose of accentuating the rhythms which arise out of the placing of the elements.'

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.95, reproduced p.95

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