(last updated in June 2018)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1970.
Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
PIPA Prize 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018 nominee.
Gisele Camargo’s works share an ambiguous quality, in which minimalistic, fragmented images mix figurative and abstract elements, forming a mysterious and dream-like aesthetics. Her process evidences a kind of architectonic rationality which organize compositive elements in order to make space tangible. Such spaces also develop beyond her works’ physical limits, be it in the “A construção dos Minimundos” collages, in the “Noite Americana” canvases, or even in her most recent painting series, “Brutos”, in which photographic fragments are revisited and are given expressive volume.
Video produced by Do Rio Filmes exclusively for PIPA 2018:
By Chris Schults [Text written on the occasion of the exhibition “Cruzamentos – Arte Contemporânea Brasileira”, showcased in 2014 in the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, USA]
Although she has exhibited photographs and videos in the past, Gisele Camargo (b. 1970, Rio de Janeiro) has devoted her artistic practice to the possibilities of painting. After graduating from the School of Fine Arts at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, she worked as an assistant for the accomplished painter Elizabeth Jobim until she established her own career through numerous group and solo exhibitions in Rio and São Paulo.
Her most significant works to date have been grouped into series of paintings that function as much as installations as individual canvases. e exquisitely cropped urban landscapes that she paints are framed so tightly that they verge on abstraction. But the shapes that Camargo gravitates toward in the landscapes—and throughout her work—are recognizable Rio environments, the natural world viewed through the prism of modernist overhangs or the geometric obstructions of anonymous architecture.
The Cruzamentos exhibition marks the first time Camargo has shown her work outside of Brazil and the debut of two paintings from her ambitious new Capsula (Capsule) series. Intended
to begin with Capsula A and end with Capsula Z, the series could be seen as establishing a language—an alphabet—of ways to portray and perceive landscapes. But if the entire series is an alphabet, each individual work is more like a rebus—although one that exists beyond language and remains perpetually unsolvable. Each Capsula is a large work consisting of numerous smaller rectangles of painted boards of varying sizes and depths, making each work almost its own series within the larger series. e backdrop of a Mondrianesque sliding tile puzzle gives Camargo an erratic grid-based structure to play with and against, and the problem-solving aspect of the works’ creation also produces a sense of play for viewers willing to join in the perceptual paradoxes and quests to make meaning.
Capsula A boldly sets the tone for the project with simple geometries that complexly combine together to alluring and disorienting effect. Precise landscapes aren’t represented, as this Capsula is more interested in perspectives and perspectives on landscapes. Opposing angles collide to create impossible, simultaneous perspectives that recall cubism. Capsula B expands on the curtain-raising ideas in A by adding more concrete geometries, solid planes, and coloureds, along with other irreconcilable elements. Whereas A had an all-over visual eld, B displays an almost narrative trajectory—one that leads the viewers’ eyes in a pattern that suggests the letter B. A push-pull of perspectives, pictorial planes, and viewer reactions begins in the upper le corner with a sturdy gray building that recalls a windowless fortress designed by Marcel Breuer. Through a dexterous use of a variety of devices—receded frames, blank frames, edges painted to create a subtle halo around the frame—Camargo’s compositions induce viewers’ eyes to glide across
B, rather than to plunge into a vertiginous vortex of perspectives as in A. But some enigmatic elements give pause to the glide and invite further scrutiny—of both themselves and the work as a whole. A delicately dangling line descends across an expanse of green (now a more solid, natural, deeper green than the dayglo of A) as a whatsit—a tail? a twig? just a line? Whatever it is, it provides a di erent, more meandering and sensual line than the rigidity in many of the other panels. It’s mirrored by two faint circular shapes in the lower le panel. ese forms exist between presence and erasure, containing elements of both, and are palimpsests that give evidence of Camargo’s process in creating the finished works.
If Capsulas A and B work precisely yet dynamically within carefully controlled parameters, Capsu- la C explodes those parameters while maintaining the same concerns and rigours. Its dimensions approach those of a CinemaScope movie screen, allowing the density and abeyances that are only possible in an epic form. Motifs from the previous Capsules play out in the sprawling vista and new elements emerge. A colour bar pops out across the upper left. An intense red dominates the opposite corner in a way that the green did in previous canvases. The twig is now a branch (or a river). ere are windows within windows. Expanses. Deceptive perspectives, both real and fabricated. Capsula C articulately highlights the series’ balance between isolation and harmony.
Camargo’s greater project breaks ways of looking at landscapes and painting down unto discrete, modest components that ower into a symphonic consonance in their accumulation. e use of the word symphonic is not accidental; the burgeoning Capsula series makes viewers aware of composition, construction, dynamics, and scale to a heightened degree. e rigorous yet intuitive ambition of the Capsulas, combined with the sense of play, make the project a welcome extension of how painting can portray the world, ourselves, and how one perceives the other.
By Sérgio Martins [Published in Artforum in 2012]
Given that Gisele Camargo’s career began in the context of 1990s Rio de Janeiro, her urban typology—for example, deadpan painterly fragments of window views or rear facades—is both characteristic of the renewed attention devoted to the city by artists of her generation, such as Ronald Duarte, Alexandre Vogler, and Romano, and strikingly at odds with the widespread presumption that the medium of painting cannot address the urgent contradictions of life in Rio. But while the practice of urban intervention eventually crystallized into yet another artistic orthodoxy, the distance that Camargo’s paintings maintain from a direct engagement with the hustle-bustle of the streets has actually helped hone her work’s persistent critical edge.
Camargo has cultivated a form and a artistic autonomy, but not in the modernist sense of the world. The geometry of her architectural structures is blatantly indifferent to metaphysical reaffirmations of either the grid or the picture plane. Instead, the bulky polyhedrons and incongruent vanishing points in her paintings can be likened to the unsettling geometric landscapes that Robert Smithson so much admired in Lorenz Stoer’s Mannerist woodcuts, in that they frustrate the viewer’s search for a unifying perspective or privileged vantage point. In her recent exhibition “Falsa Espera” (False Wait), Camargo hung her paintings in a single, uninterrupted line at eye level, like a horizon line dysfunctionally operating as a film strip. Instead of grounding one’s spatial orientation, the line-which was 125 feet long and sixteen inches wide, except for a few parts where it widened-created a temporal sequence, contracting the various geometric objects into a hasty succession of shapes and textures. As the line finally reached the back wall and turned to face us from a distance, the paintings themselves seemed to broaden and offer a calmer view before disappearing behind the protruding right wall.
Traversing this lineup, the eye could not rest for long in any single panel. In part, this was because the painted forms bear no structural relation to the shape or limits of the panels; their framing seems somewhat arbitrary. It’s not that the panels are awkwardly composed, but that they actively aim to dispel any sense of spatial self-sufficiency so as to invite us to notice similar surfaces and textures across the sequence. Everything seems slightly out of place, but this
perception sparks a rhythmic relay in which the objects become so many variations of the same, uncannily familiar setting. Camargo’s austere palette is crucial in this respect. A similar silver surface or a white impasto may play one role in a given panel and a very different one elsewhere (standing for water in one scene and sky in another, for example), but repetition nevertheless pulls those different moments together.
There is a fundamental link between Camargo’s cinematic articulation of fragmentary scenes and her commitment to landscape painting. The latter is a charged subject in Rio, whose emblematic vistas have been ideologically mobilized ever since the 1920s in representations of the city as a whole. In this sense, the artist’s fleeting painterly stills of anonymous terraces, rooftops, chimneys, and rain gutters-images not of famous sights but of the rather melancholic views one gets from the back windows of high-rise apartment blocks-position her work critically against the backdrop of the city’s aggressive process of self-branding over the last decade or so, as it has pushed to compete for tourism and mega-events. There may be no ideal viewpoint for Camargo’s geometries, but this ambiguity is what tells us that there is still something unexpected to be seen, even in painting.
– Graduated in Painting, School of Fine Arts, EBA – UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
– Course in Contemporary Philosophy in Gilles Deleuze – Prof. Cláudio Ulpiano
– School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
-“Cápsulas e Luas”, Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Part of the Art and Patrimony IPHAN Prize)
-“Noite Americana ou Luas Invisíveis”, Luciana Caravello Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Falsa Espera”, Galeria Oscar Cruz, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Metrópole”, Galeria Mercedes Viegas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “A Capital”, Galeria IBEU, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Panavison”, Amarelonegro Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Projéteis Prize for Contemporary Arts, FUNARTE, Palácio Gustavo Capanema, Galeria Mezanino, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Pequena Galeria do Centro Cultural Candido Mendes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Sala de Paisagem Contemporânea Museu Antonio Parreiras, Niterói, Brazil
– “A Luz que Vela o Corpo É a Mesma que Revela a Tela”, curated by Bruno Miguel, Caixa Cultural Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Gray Matters”, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA
-“TRIO Bienal, Bienal Tridimensional”, curated by Marcus de Lontra Costa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
-“Vértice – Sergio Carvalho Collection”, Museu Nacional dos Correios, Brasília, Brazil
-“Cruzamentos Arte Contemporânea Brasileira”, curated by Jennifer Lange, Chris Stults and Paulo Venâncio Filho, Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA
-“Duplo Olhar Coleção Sergio Carvalho”, curated by Denise Mattar, Paço das Artes, São Paulo, Brazil
-“Cinéticos e Construtivos”, curated by Ligia Canongia, Galeria Carbono, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Paisagens Artificiais”, curated by Felipe Scovino, Galeria Pilar, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Dez anos do instituto Tomie Ohtake”, curated by Agnaldo Farias and Thiago Mesquita, instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Coletiva 11” Galeria Mercedes Viegas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “O Lugar da Linha”, curated by Felipe Scovino, MAC, Niterói, Brazil
– “O Lugar da Linha”, curated by Felipe Scovino, Paço das Artes, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Entre”, curated by Ivair Reinaldim, Galeria IBEU, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Além do Horizonte”, curated by Daniela Name, Galeria Amerolonegro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Nova Arte Nova”, curated by Paulo Venancio Filho, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Nova Arte Nova”, curated by Paulo Venancio Filho, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Sim de Artes Visuais Prize, curated by Marisa Flórido Casa das Onze Janelas, Belém, Brazil
– “FOTO”, Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Arte pela Amazônia”, curated by Ricardo Ribenboim, Fundação Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil
– “Entre Postes”, Galeria do Poste, Niterói, Brazil
– “Velatura Sólida”, Amarelonegro Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Novas Tecnologias, Centro Cultural Paschoal Carlos Magno, Niterói, Brazil
– 29º SARP, Salão de Arte Contemporânea de Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
– Projéteis de Arte Contemporânea, FUNARTE, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Inclassificados”, Espaço Bananeiras, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “12Hs de Pintura”, Espaço Bananeiras, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Bienal de Desenho, FENARTE, João Pessoa, Brazil
– Projeto Zona Franca, Fundição Progresso, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Novíssimos”, IBEU, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Salão de Arte Contemporânea do Paraná, Brazil
– SESC Copacabana, “Outras Paisagens”, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– SESC Copacabana, “Poemas Visitados”, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– SESC Tijuca, “Paisagem Substantivo Feminino”, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– SESC Nova Iguaçu, “Pinturas”, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Três Tempos”, Centro Cultural Paschoal Carlos Magno, Niterói, Brazil
– Art and Patrimony Prize, Honour to the Merit, IPHAN
– Support Grant for Research and Artistic Creation, the Secretary of Culture of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Ibram Prize of Contemporary Art
– Sim Prize of Visual Arts, Casa das Onze Janelas, Belém, Pará, Brazil
– Projéteis Prize for Contemporary Art, Fundação Nacional de Artes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
– Projéteis Prize for Contemporary Art, Fundação Nacional de Artes, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
– “Falsa Espera”, Editora Barléu, Brazil.
– “Pacto Visual”, Editora Arte Ensaio, Brazil.
– Pintura Brasileira sec XXI – Editora Cobogó, Brazil.
– Santa Art Magazine – issue #8, Brazil.
– Revista Umbigo – issue #40, Portugal.
– ArtForum – October 2012, USA.
Public and Private Collections
– Brazil Golden Art (BGA)
– Instituto Brasileiro de Museus (IBRAM)
– Itaú Cultural
– Adriano Agehres
– Fabio Szwarcwald
– Sergio Carvalho
– Marcia and Luiz Chrysóstomo
– Ana Luisa and Mariano Marcondes Ferraz
Video produced by Matrioska Filmes exclusively for PIPA 2015:
Video produced by Matrioska Filmes exclusively for PIPA 2013:
- Watch another four interviews with this edition's nominees
- Meet the 78 nominees of PIPA Prize 2018
- PIPA Prize 2018 Nominees | 3rd Bulletin
- New season of the group exhibition "Vértice" begins in São Paulo
- Last days | "Vértice", with works from the collection of Sergio Carvalho
- Opening | "Vértice", with works from the collection of Sergio Carvalho
- Curated by Marília Panitz, Marisa Mokarzel and Polyanna Morgana, group exhibition "Vértice" opens next week
- Interview with Nominated Artists | Watch the three new exclusive videos released this week
- PIPA 2015 Participating Artists | Final list
- PIPA 2015 nominees | Full list