..Juan José Cambre

Amarillo:
Acrylic on canvas.
140 x 172 cm.

Azul:
Acrylic on canvas.
140 x 207 cm.

Rojo:
Acrylic on canvas.
140 x 172 cm.

Ocre*:
Acrylic on canvas.
85 x 67 cm.

Ocre*:
Acrylic on canvas.
85 x 67 cm.

Verde*:
Acrylic on canvas.
85 x 67 cm.


Verde*:
Acrylic on canvas.
85 x 67 cm.

Azul verde:
Acrylic on paper.
85 x 67 cm.

Verde negro:
Acrylic on paper.
85 x 67 cm.

*Trabajos preliminares para los murales del Four Seasons de Guanacaste - Costa Rica

Cambre

An enormous blue painting takes up an entire wall. It is not just any blue: it can hardly be defined within the tight bounds of a primary color. It projects a serene strength and something whole, solid, simple, silent. The chance visitor who stops to look at it can not help but become self-absorbed: it is impossible that this not happen, even if only for a few seconds. Indeed, there is nothing to see but color, paint itself, extremely vibrant and luminous.

After living in Costa Rica for four years, Juan José Cambre is back in Buenos Aires. He no longer paints dishes: those sunken colored figures that were like his personal seal are no longer his pictorial argument or his leitmotiv. After several series of contrasting primary colors, his current work originates in photographs that he takes of nature: circles of light through foliage, shadows in perspective, waves of water, details of back lit vegetation.

His method is laborious. He projects these shapes onto the canvas, working with white and a background color, applying velaturas on the surface until the color of the shadow and the color itself are one and the same, not the same shade but the same color. Though undeniably abstract, their origin as photographed landscapes is connected with his famous series of dishes. In both series, the artist’s intention is to rid himself of the image, dissolve it into paint, erase any trace of figuration or, even, put color in the place of figuration. Paint a green. Or a blue. Or a yellow.

Strange mix of zen painter and conceptual artists, as Inés Katzenstein, once said. Patient explorations of color, his paintings offer what could be called an oriental experience. One thousand and three hundred years ago, a Chinese poet named Li No wrote the following poem: The birds have left, flying in flocks/ Slowly, a lonely cloud moves away/ Looking at each other does not tire us/ Alone, you and I, mountain Jin Ting”

Something of this nature happens before a Cambre painting. Everything seems to be pleasantly laid out so that the eye can give itself over to helpless and simple contemplation of color, to the materiality of paint, as if one were a guest that the painting received. Another traveler before Jin Ting mountain.

“I would like the chance visitor to sit down, stay still, and soon he will see that something will happen to him in relation to the painting,” says Cambre when asked how he hopes his work will be seen. Something will happen to him. Something maybe even decorative: Cambre is not frightened of that word, whose etymology contains the idea of “doing the right thing”, of doing what is most precisely fitting in a determined situation. “A few days ago, a friend came to my studio with a group of potential buyers, and she said that she did not really get it... this sort of painting and all…, and at that very moment the entire group walked in front of an enormous red painting, and I told her: but just look how good your friends look... (he bursts out laughing). I think that these pieces are related to large formats, that they are a good background for the things that happen in front of them,” says Cambre.

In addition to the series of blue, yellow and red paintings in a variety of formats, Cambre exhibits a series of forty-five green prints on paper, all mounted on the same wall. Initially, these pieces were going to be a sort of bonus track, but gradually they became one of the most attractive experiences in the show, and the one that caused the artist and the curator the most trouble when it came to deciding how and where to mount them. Cambre is clearly fascinated by this series of prints, fully taken with green and its shades. He explains that he has been sensitive to this color since the very beginning: his first painting, which he painted when he was nine, was a portrait of his grandmother in various shades of green. Later, in crucial moments of his training in the 60s, green was once again central to changes and learning experiences.

Looking so far back is no coincidence. Just as the Goofus Bird from Borges’s Book of Imaginary Beings “builds its nest upside down and flies backward, not caring where it's going, only where it's been", when Cambre reflects on the gradual transformation in his work, he inevitably turns back.

“I like to think of my work in relation to the vision possible when, for example, one is sitting in the backseat of a car, driving along the highway and looking out the rear window. That vision is always retrospective; it is a vision of something that is left behind and gets smaller and smaller. But at the same time, if you take a closer look, what is further behind seems to grow, expand, get bigger. Perspective is visually contradictory. In this sense, my work is contradictory as well: when I move forward in my work, it is always as if what is behind me grew, what seems to be getting smaller and further away. What I thought I had already done or what I left to do better later. It is always the same path.”

Mercedes Mc Donnel

Curriculum

Nace en Buenos Aires, 1948.
Arquitecto en 1974, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Solo exhibitions :

1976
Galería Lirolay, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Galería Artemúltiple, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1977
Galería Arte Nuevo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Galería Balmaceda, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1978
Galería Atica, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1979
Galería Arte Nuevo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1980
Galería Finaciera San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1981
Galería Alberto Elía, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1982
Galería Arte Nuevo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1983
Galería Unión Carbide Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1984
Galería Jacques Martínez, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1985
Galería Rubber, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1986
Galería Sara García Uriburu, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1987
Galería Jacques Martínez, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1988
Galería Jacques Martínez, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1989
Galería Adriana Rosenberg, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1990
Galería Adriana Rosenberg, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
El imaginario Bonaerense, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1991
Galería Jacob Karpio, San José de Costa Rica
1992
Pinturas 91-92, Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1993/95
Realización murales para 19 sucursales del credit Lyunnais, actual Banco Tornquist.
1997
Museo de Arte Bahía Blanca. Bahía Blanca, Argentina.
Casa de la Cultura Argentina. Milán, Italia.
Galería Alternativa. Caracas, Venezuela.
1998
Fundación Federico Klemm, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2000
Fundación Federico Jorge Klemm, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2001
Veinticuatro estudios de color. Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2002
Galería Klaus Steinmetz, San José, Costa Rica
Galería Mateo Sariel, Panamá
2003
Pentateuco, Fondo Nacional de las Artes,Buenos Aires,Arg.

Groupal exhibitions :

1976

Sociedad Hebraica Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1977
Exposición Premio M. De Ridder. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1978
Arte Erótico. Galería Praxis, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Jornadas de la Crítica. Centro de Artes y Comunicaciones, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1979
Exposición Premio Braque. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Homenaje a Julio Verne. Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Exposición Premio Lanús. Galería Van Riel, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1980
Exposición de Apertura. Galería Alberto Elía, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Exposición Premio Banco del Acuerdo. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Exposición Premio Braque. Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1981
Premios Municipales. Museo Sívori, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Jornadas de la Crítica. Galerías Atica y Artemúltiple, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Banco del Acuerdo.Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1982
La Nueva Imagen. Galería del Buen Ayre, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Jornadas de la Crítica. Galería del Buen Ayre, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1983
Cuatro Pintores Argentinos. Galería Artes, Quito.
La Nueva Imagen, Jornadas. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Expresiones. Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Los Artistas y el Tiempo Libre. Museo Sívori, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Premio de Murales Benson. Museo Sívori, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1984
Artista en el papel. Museos de Arte Moderno, Buenos Airesy Castagnino, Rosario.
Cambre-Kuitca-Marcaccio. Sala de la Pequeña Muestra, Rosario.
El Autorretrato, Bienal de México.
1985
La Nueva Imagen, Bienal de Sao Pablo.
1986
La Nueva Imagen, Museo de Arte Moderno de Caracas.
1987
Imagen e Idea de la Argentina, Museo de Arte Moderno de México.
1988
La Nueva Imagen, Galerie Beau Lézard, París.
1990
La vuelta al Centro. Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1991
Argentina-Chile. Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1992
Argentina-Chile. Galería Plástica Nueva, Santiago de Chile.
1997
Maison de la Culture Cote-des-Neiges, Montreal.
Premio Fundación Fortabat para Maestros, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1998
Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
2002
Galería Silvana Facchini, Miami.

Prices:

1976
Primer Premio de Pintura S.H.A.
1978
Segundo Premio de Pintura Fundación Lanús.
1981
Primer Premio de Pinturas Salón ¨Manuel Belgrano¨.
Segundo Premio Beca Francesco Romero.
Premio Beca a Nueva York, Banco del Acuerdo.
1982
Segundo Premio Pridiliano Pueyrredón.
Mención Artista Joven del Año, Asociación Argentina de Críticos.
1983
Segundo premio de pintura Prilidiano Pueyrredón.
1993
Primer Premio Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat.