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Synopsis

This article focuses on the influential role printmaking played in Liliana Porter’s artistic practice. Luis Camnitzer provides a thoughtful response to Porter’s photographic narratives and her use of objects in evoking three-dimensional space and perspective. He introduces specific works as examples that trace Porter’s evolution as an artist, while also emphasizing her influences from the past, such as cinematographer Lev Kulechov and Surrealist artist René Magritte.

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In 2000, for issue number 35 of Art Nexus, Uruguayan artist Luis Camnitzer (b. 1937) wrote “Liliana Porter: la poesía de la comunicación.” In this article, he discusses the limits and technical borders of printmaking and Argentinean artist Liliana Porter’s (b. 1941) trajectory of attempts to overcome these borders in order to focus on the image itself, which leads her to photography. He says that in 1995 Porter “decided to confront reality more directly, either using the objects themselves or photography as a medium for documenting.” Camnitzer notes that Porter began using photography in her practice during the 1970’s but it evolved into an impeccable technique that provided visual elegance. Initially, her works appeared as images that could accompany the literature of Luis Borges and Luis Carroll, but Camnitzer suggests that her images became her own literary models as she developed keen narratives.

 

 

Camnitzer’s article is important because it focuses on the influence printmaking had on Porter’s photographic practices. [See in the ICAA digital archive, the texts: “texto,” by Luis Camnitzer (doc. no. 772973) and “Liliana Porter: Durero, industria, objeto, week-end,” in El Mundo (doc. no. 772573) regarding printmaking].

 

Born in Lübbock, Germany, but immigrated to Uruguay as a result of WWII two years later, Luis Camnitzer (b. 1937) is one of NYGW’s founding members. After moving to New York, in 1964, he met Liliana Porter (whom he later married and divorced) and José Guillermo Castillo and started the New York Graphic Workshop.

 

Liliana Porter (b. 1941) was born in Buenos Aires, and began studying art at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Manuel Belgrano. In 1958 she and her family moved to Mexico City, where she enrolled at the Universidad Iberoamericana and took classes from the German artist Mathias Goeritz (1915–90), specializing in printmaking with Guillermo Silva Santamaría. She returned to Buenos Aires in 1961 and remained there until 1964, from where she moved to New York City where she joined forces with Luis Camnitzer and José Guillermo Castillo to start the New York Graphic Workshop (NYGW, 1964–65), a space where classes were held and other artists’ works were printed (closed 1970). It was also a place where artists gathered to discuss printmaking and its role in contemporary society, which led to a variety of group projects. In 1975, Porter and Camnitzer, who were married at that time, opened the Studio Camnitzer-Porter in Valdottavo (Lucca). In the last 20 years of her career she has specialized in pictures and sculptures that incorporate figurines found in thrift stores and flea markets, as well as larger installations that incorporate surrounding spaces and sites. Liliana Porter currently lives and works in Rhinebeck, New York state.

Researcher
Taylor Kubala; ICAA team
Team
International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, Houston, USA
Credit
Courtesy of Luis Camnitzer, Great Neck, NY