The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this essay, written by the English art critic Guy Brett, the author analyses the white reliefs—works that exist between painting and sculpture—made by Brazilian artist Sérgio Camargo in the 1960s. Brett explains the trajectory of Camargo’s artworks from his early three-dimensional, figurative sculptures, which he began to make at age 18, to the first white relief he made in 1963 when he was 33 years old. The mechanism of pushing his fingers through the materials until a protrusion was visible became the means by which he arrived at the idea of the relief. The rhythm created by what would eventually be cylindrical elements in relief and the play of light and shadows that these produce is also discussed by Brett. Throughout the essay, Brett reflects on Camargo’s “language of expression” and the dialogue that ensues between spectator and artwork.
This document is part of The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Even though “Camargo” appeared in the bilingual (Portuguese and English) publication Sergio Camargo: Light and Shadow (São Paulo: Arauco Editora, 2007), a note that precedes the essay states that this and some of the other essays in the book were originally published between 1966 and 1968. However, no further information regarding its place of publication is provided. Noteworthy about this essay are the interspersed quotes by Sergio Camargo (1930–1990), which presents an artist committed to the verbal articulation of his artistic process; nevertheless, the source for these quotes is also unaccounted for in the book.
The relationship between Guy Brett (born 1942)—a London-based art critic and curator—and Camargo began when Brett invited the Brazilian artist to have a solo exhibition in 1966 at Signals London, an important art space for the international avant-garde in the 1960s. When Camargo went back to Brazil in 1973, he began the construction of a studio in the Jacarepaguá district, a suburb outside of Rio de Janeiro. Back in his native country, Camargo became good friends with a group of artists that included José Resende, Waltercio Caldas, Tunga, Eduardo Sued, and Iole de Freitas. Until he passed away in December 1990, these fellow artists provided him with an important environment for the debate and the reflection of ideas.