Alexander Gray Associates was 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) covered 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.
In concurrence with the exhibition, Harper Montgomery spoke on Conceptualism and the Uses of Avant-Garde Art in Latin America on Saturday, September 29, 2012, at 4:00 pm.