May 30, 2023
In his West Coast solo project debut, Uruguayan artist Luis Camnitzer (b. 1937) debuts the new work below/here/above/ahead/was as part of BAMPFA’s Art Wall commissioned series. In this piece, styled as diverse views of a notepaper sheet, Camnitzer proposes that objects do not change, but rather that perception shifts to create different points of view. These perspectival angles activate a dialogue with the industrial vectors, extended sight lines, and interior architecture of BAMPFA’s building, especially the Crane Forum. Accompanied by short handwritten phrases, this large-scale work incorporates Camnitzer’s signature use of language as sociopolitical intervention.
Part of the vanguard of 1960s conceptualism, Camnitzer was a member of New York’s Museo Latinoamericano and the splinter group Movimiento de Independencia Cultural de Latino América (MICLA). His book Conceptualism in Latin American Art (2007) is widely considered one of the most influential texts on the subject. In subtle, incisive works ranging from printmaking to sculptural installation to site-specific collaborations, Camnitzer’s consistent preoccupations include repression under systems of power, pedagogical norms, and the deconstruction of cultural presumptions. His often politically charged use of language as an art medium has distinguished his practice of six decades. Promoting alternative understandings of center and periphery, nearly all of Camnitzer’s work is charged with his questioning of colonialism and capitalism. It argues that Latin American conceptualism is not a style but rather a strategy that developed independently of North American and European influences.
Art Wall: Luis Camnitzer is organized by BAMPFA staff and curated by Christina Yang, chief curator. The Art Wall is made possible by major funding from Frances Hellman and Warren Breslau. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive