Camargo, Iberê (1914–1994) By Westphalen Von Hartenthal, Mariana
One of the most prominent 20th-century Brazilian artists, Iberê Camargo remains virtually unknown outside of his country. A painter, printmaker, and draughtsman who created over 7,000 pieces or art across more than five decades, Camargo never subscribed to the geometric abstraction adopted by more well-known post-war Brazilian artists. He insisted that his works were figurative, even though some of his pieces push the limits between abstraction and figuration and call into question the simplistic definitions of these categories. Camargo asserted his independence as an artist by declining to acknowledge any influences. Early in his career, he created landscape paintings and engravings, but in the mid-1950s health problems forced him to stay indoors, and he directed his attention toward objects he could manipulate in the studio. He developed his series, Carretéis (Spools), for over 20 years. Camargo deconstructs the simple shapes of the objects he uses the series, or uses them as an organizing structure for the surface of his paintings and prints. In the series Ciclistas (Cyclists), which he began in the 1980s, expressive brushstrokes delineate figures floating on dark-colored backgrounds, thick with impasto. In the series Idiotas (Idiots), disfigured women haunt obscure spaces, and appear as if waiting for a person who will never come.