THE UNITY OF DIVERSITY . CAUÊ ALVES

The audience familiar with Tony Camargo's Planopinturas and Fotomódulos may be surprised by his drawings, presented in São Paulo for the first time. The paintings' formal neatness and the absence of brushstrokes – they are made using stencils and a compressor - contrast with excess of graphic elements and the handmade quality of the drawings.

 

Even though each series has a singular character and does not depend on the other to affirm itself, their point of intersection seems to be the Fotomódulos. Through the use of colour, Tony Camargo establishes an intimate relationship between the layers of painting and the more ordinary photographed scenes. He explores several shades simultaneously on a flat painted surface and in images such as that of an air balloon, a piece of garment or an invented sign. Even words become images. There is a complete continuity between the paintings and the photographs, as if they were interspersed, as if the colours in the paintings found themselves outside the canvas, in the photographs; and as if the photographed scenes, in an opposite direction, moved towards the field of the paintings.

 

The artist's body - always with the face covered - plays a central role in the photos. It is his body that bears the coloured elements that unfold on the painted surfaces. Tony Camargo's gestures and twisted positions, with the torso to one side, the head to the other and the feet crossed, are analogous to the positions that his "drawn" characters assume. They are unbalanced and their stance is slightly awkward. It is from this inability and lack of dexterity that the expressivity of the drawings emerges. In this work we see something of the dancers' posture and position in Matisse's series of collages Jazz.

 

However, Tony Camargo's shapes are more bestial. His figures float in an imaginary, colourful space, and are close to childlike shapes. There is a contrast between primary colours in his drawings, which are absent in his photographs and paintings. Here the lines are inseparable from the colour and bring the spontaneity of a technique which is free from more crystallised procedures. In the process of these drawings one figure emerges from the other, which is why they seem to fit into each other. The composition is permeated by adhesive tape of several colours that merge with the traces. Organic shapes are interspersed by the straight and geometrical fields created by the industrial tape. It all happens as if the shades of the drawings were growing from inside the tape itself.

 

Although each series of work is made according to their own needs and requirements, the artist clearly has his own syntax, a way of establishing relationships that we identify as his own. Going through different techniques, mediums and themes, Tony Camargo shows us that lack of uniformity does not imply incoherence. Diversity does not preclude us from recognizing a unity in his work.