luis camnitzer/...
galería parásito/… & Tranzit/Display,
april 2011, Prague, Czech Republic

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galería parásito/…, in collaboration with Tranzit/Display, is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in Czech Republic of the Uruguayan Conceptual artist Luis Camnitzer. The exhibition features a wide range of works from Camnitzer's trajectory in recent decades. It tries not to create a retrospective of his work, but intends to highlight certain aspects of his train of thought. The selection of works at Tranzit/Display spans from the 1960’s to the present, including two new projects for the Czech audience. The show includes what is considered his first Conceptual piece, This is a mirror. You are a written sentence (1966), which has been reformulated for the local public. The text-based artworks have all been translated into the Czech language in order to make their original meanings more accessible.
The use of printed language is the primary visual element in Camnitzer´s body of work. Words allow him to create works based on ideas as opposed to physical images. They evoke unpredictable interpretations, letting us be perplexed. Left alone in the fertile ground of uncertainty, we find ourselves forced to come to our own conclusions. The exhibition at Tranzit/Display combines some of his most recurrent themes: politics, identity, institutional critique, and the power of language to experience reality.
Luis Camnitzer was born in Lübeck, Germany in 1937. At one year of age, his family left for Uruguay, where he was raised. He studied in Montevideo, and after receiving the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1961, he left for the USA in 1964, settling in New York City. Initially emigrating for his career, when the political situation changed in Uruguay to a brutal dictatorship in 1973, he found himself in exile. This initiated the subjects that appear in his work to date: identity and exile, otherness, resistance, while also imbuing political content within his writing and practice.
Camnitzer is Professor Emeritus of the State University of New York and, currently, the pedagogical advisor for the Cisneros Foundation, Caracas/New York. Throughout his career he has sustained both integrity in his work and a criticism towards art emerging from the center and the periphery, themes he approached as artist, critic and writer/theoretician. His work has been exhibited in many international shows and biennals: Havana, Venice representing Uruguay in 1988, Mercosur, Liverpool, Whitney, Pontevedra and Documenta XI. More recently he had an anthological exhibition at Daros-Latinamerica, Zurich, a travelling exhibition that presently is on view in New York at El Museo del Barrio. His works are represented by the Alexander Gray Gallery, New York, where he exhibited in 2010 and in 2011. His work is in many private and public collections around the world.
This project has been an interesting and enriching experience for me as the founder of galería parásito/… and as an artist, not only for the remarkable experience of collaborating with a respected and admired artist, but also for the whole process of investigation and research, and subsequent feedback I received while making this show possible.
I would like to thank Luis Camnitzer for engaging in the adventure that is galería parásito/…, for finding a spot in his busy agenda to come to Czech Republic in person, accompanied by his wife, Selby Hickey, and for having the patience to reply to a million emails in no time, with the irony and sense of humor that characterizes him and some of his works. I would also like to thank Tranzit/Display for their support and trust for the fulfillment of the difficult task of bringing Mr. Camnitzer and his work to the Czech audience. It is in this kind of collaboration that galería parásito/… thrives, creating a bridge that opens the dialogue between Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe.