Sergio Camargo - Latin America New York Thursday, May 29, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Private Collection, Switzerland
    Private Collection, Europe

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Camargo…investigate[s]…the changing light of the everyday world with its incalculable complexity of nuance." Guy Brett

    Refined yet spirited, Sergio Camargo’s remarkable Relief Rayonnant is an elegant exploration of sculptural form and painterly abstraction inspired by the Constructivist movement. Challenging and transforming both the practice of his minimalist mentors Constantin Brancusi, Lucio Fontana and Yves Klein, as well as that of his peers working in the Neoconcrete tradition, Camargo reimagined concepts of volume and material objectivity, reinvigorating an artistic dialogue concerned with light, volume, and sculpture itself. An enigmatic synthesis of these stylistic and spatial concerns, Relief Rayonnant is a luminous and important example of Camargo’s collaborative intimacy with concept, subject, and a new modernity.

    Composed of variegated cylindrical elements pulsating from a dense and organic core, Relief Rayonant is a fascinating departure from Camargo’s monochrome reliefs. Here, an irregular, amorphous yet monochrome structure swells from the artist’s chosen plinth – a simple unpainted wooden plank – resulting in a visceral composition that transcends the boundaries of painting and sculpture. Curved, cylindrical surfaces combine in geometric though vigorous form – atomic elements comprising the organic whole. “The subtle restlessness of regularity absorbs us, but at times elements are also disorderly grouped – agglomerated, convulsed, dramatic, agony of space – and long to escape from the surface, expelled from plane and beyond the place.” (P. Filho, “clear enigma,” in Sergio Camargo: claro enigma, exhibition catalogue, Instituto de Arte Contemporânea, São Paulo, pp. 72-73)

    Created soon after the completion of his first white relief, Relief Rayonant is a monument to Camargo’s mastery and extension of the geometric form as organic element. Drawing upon the cubist compositions of Pablo Picasso, Camargo rejected representation and instead interpreted these geometric shapes through the lens of abstraction. Enhanced and purified in monochromatic, bright white, the artist referenced Fontana and Klein in both palette and practice, balancing the minimalist reduction of form with a concern for the interplay of light and shadow. Sharing Camargo’s interest in three-dimensional abstraction and the rhythmic conversation developed by the interaction of these elements, contemporary Jesús Rafael Soto’s Escritura extends the legacy of these monochromatic minimalists. Camargo, building on Soto’s conceptual interplay, presents a seemingly spontaneous, yet harmonious composition produced from the geometric regularity of individual forms. The nuanced dynamism evoked from the lyrical Relief Rayonant is the sum of these multiplicities. The implied depth and movement articulated by Camargo’s form and its void, the antagonism of sculpture and surface, combine in a complex reflection of mass, volume and light that extend beyond the pictorial plane in the realization of a subtle yet profound artistic presence.

  • Artist Biography

    Sergio Camargo

    Brazilian • 1930 - 1990

    Sergio Camargo was a Brazilian artist known for his sculptures, wall-based reliefs and architectural commissions. Born in Rio de Janeiro, he studied in Buenos Aires and Paris before returning to Brazil in 1950 at which point he became familiar with the Constructivist movement. During the 1960s and 1970s his work became dominated by wooden, terracotta, marble and stone forms, cylindrical or cuboid in shape, jutting out in relief with geometric precision from monochrome white surfaces. The interjecting lines created across the white surfaces by shadow and light evoke the interplay of alternating modes of rationality and chaos, fullness and emptiness. The three-dimensional constructions are meticulous in their use of color and form, simultaneously minimalist in order and expansive in their study of volume and light.

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Relief Rayonant No. 2/21

painted wood
19 1/4 x 19 7/8 x 9 1/4 in. (49 x 50.5 x 23.5 cm.)
Signed, titled, inscribed and dated "Camargo Paris 1964 Relief Rayonant No. 2/21" on the reverse. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Galeria Raquel Arnaud, numbered 11450.

$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $581,000

Contact Specialist
Laura González
Head of Latin America Sale
+1 212 940 1216

Latin America

New York Auction 29 May 2014 4pm