Alexander Gray Associates is pleased to present its third individual exhibition with Luis Camnitzer, whose contributions since the 1960s to the development of Latin American contemporary art and international Conceptual Art have garnered significant recognition in recent years. The exhibition in the Gallery’s newly expanded space, includes the premiere of two installation works by Camnitzer.
Realized for the first time, Bricks (1974/2012) covers the Gallery walls at 10-feet high with black and white photographic murals of bricks and mortar, transforming the space into a place of confinement. In the piece, the image of four brick walls, each photographed from different distances, resulting in a distorted perspective of proximity, scale and location. With Bricks, conceived at the early period of the Uruguayan dictatorship, the piece obscures any cues for cardinal directions, human scale, and the relationship of the body within its environment, imposing boundaries on the viewers’ experience. In Camnitzer’s oeuvre, Bricks is a departure from his text-based works of the 60s, using photographic rather than linguistic signs as tools to alter meaning; subsequent photographic works from the mid-1970s are among the artist’s most iconic.
Disorientation plays a central role in the viewer’s experience again with The Shift of the Center of the Earth (1975). The installation is composed of a mason’s plumb suspended from the ceiling, skewed at an angle, seemingly defying natural laws of gravity. This repurposed tool—a trusted guide to our geographic or physical center—leads us astray; Camnitzer’s manipulation of the plumb leaves us doubting which way is down. Here too, Camnitzer questions the role of an individual in our social and political worlds, as well as our psychological: who determines location, myself or the world around me? Camnitzer’s Duchampian gesture–repositioning a found object–certainly addresses the realignment of global politics and capital.
Luis Camnitzer (b. 1937) is a German-born Uruguayan conceptual artist and academic who works in the media of printmaking and sculpture. His humorous yet biting work has appeared in many exhibitions since the early 1960s.
Camnitzer’s work has been shown in noted exhibitions and institutions, including individual shows at the Galería Ruth Benzacar, Argentina; The Kitchen and El Museo del Barrio, New York; List Visual Arts Center at M.I.T., Cambridge, MA; and Museo Carillo Gil, Mexico City. Retrospectives of his work have been presented at Lehman College Art Gallery in the Bronx, NY(1991) and Kunsthalle Kiel, Germany (2003), as well as at the Daros Museum in Zürich (2010) and the upcoming exhibition at El Museo del Barrio, New York (2011). His work has appeared in biennials and group shows, including Information (1970), The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Biennial of Havana, Cuba (1984, 1986, and 1991); Whitney Biennial (2000), Documenta 11 (2002), and Beyond Geometry (2005), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA. Camnitzer’s work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; and Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Argentina (MALBA), among other institutions. Camnitzer received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1961 and 1982. A highly regarded critic and curator, Camnitzer is a frequent contributor to ArtNexus, and wrote New Art of Cuba (1994, 2003) and Conceptualism in Latin American Art: Didactics of Liberation (2007).