In 1964 after moving to New York from his native Uruguay, Camnitzer co-founded The New York Graphic Workshop. Until 1970, the group examined the conceptual meaning behind printmaking, and sought to test and expand the definition of the medium. In 1964, Camnitzer wrote a manifesto on printmaking that was adopted by the group as a statement of intent. In this text, Camnitzer argues that printmaking should not restrict but amplify the artist’s possibilities of generating conceptually rich ideas through strong images. This concept would dominate Camnitzer’s artistic practice through the later part of the 1960s and well into the 1970s. During this time, Camnitzer developed a body of work that explored language as a primary medium. He found that “the verbal description of a visual situation could elicit the creativity of the spectator in a better way than the visual situation itself.” In Telescope, Camnitzer explores written language and its ability to generate meaning beyond the physical object. Nine rectangular glass slabs stacked neatly reveal the word “telescope,” each layer representative of a single letter, that gives the illusion of text slowly dissolving from visibility. Unlike an actual telescope that through a glass lens enhances the view of faraway cosmic bodies, in Camnitzer’s sculpture, glass layers contribute to the written word’s gradient opacity. Through the waterfall positioning of each individual letter, legible through the glass panels’ transparency, Camnitzer gives the engraved letters physicality, transforming the written word into a visual illustration of volume and shape.
2021: South South, Alexander Gray Associates, Germantown, New York 1991: Retrospective Exhibition 1966—1990, Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, NY 1991: Retrospective Exhibition 1966—1990, Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA 1991: Retrospective Exhibition 1966—1990, Museo Blanes, Montevideo, Uruguay 1967: Towards Fandso, The Pratt Center for Contemporary Printmaking, New York, NY