"[...] Iberê Camargo grew up in a region of the state culturally marked by the confluence of late European immigration at the end of the 19th century and the gauchos, farm workers or landowners.
He comes from a geographical region between the hills of the Central Uplands and the Pampa. 'O clima de meus quadros vem da solidão da campanha, do campo, onde fui guri e adolescent [The atmosphere of my pictures comes from the solitude of the campagna, the fields of my childhood and youth]'. In the last year of his life that solitude seems to have returned, as a feeling projected onto his paintings, while at the same time he had returned to his own back yard, as an image of security: 'Sempre fui ligado à terra, ao meu pátio. No Rio Grande do Sul estou no colo da minha mãe [I was always connected to the land, to my back yard. In Rio Grande do Sul I am in my mother’s arms]'.
An educated man, he was friends with artists and writers, one of whom, Érico Veríssimo, was the author of the fictional historical saga of Rio Grande do Sul, O Tempo e o Vento [Time and the Wind]. The wind was a symbol of the gaucho man, almost always absent, far from home, involved in the toil of rearing and transporting horses and cattle, or in the conflicts of the successive revolutions that left their marks on Rio Grande do Sul. This man always interacted with the landscape. He worked outdoors, slept under the stars and often dropped dead on the earth and was buried there. Time was related to woman: endless repetition of the same everyday actions, attending to births and deaths, and above all waiting for the periodic return of the warrior, exhausted from battle or not returning at all.
In a kind of dialogue with this almost glorious saga, especially the first volume with its mythical hero Capitão Rodrigo, the artist, now at the end of his life, painted two huge canvases entitled No Vento e na Terra (In the Wind and on the Ground). They depict an asexual naked body prostrate on the ground. Its face, turned towards the spectator, is that of a person in agony on earth that is also naked and dead. While Érico Veríssimo’s hero contributed to the creation of an idealisedb image related to the search for cultural identity, Iberê’s seem to enquire into the meaning of life and finitude.
In Veríssimo’s book, time and the wind pass over the land, changing its surface, but it continues to exist as a greater reference. In Iberê Camargo’s paintings, it is as if the person (man or woman, or both simultaneously) create and are create by the earth on which they lie, which serves as a bed: a brief or definitive refuge. The anti-myth, the antihero – a metaphor of the human condition. Man, all men, are in the wind and the earth."
Icleia Borsa Cattani, Paisagens de dentro: as últimas pinturas de Iberê Camargo (Porto Alegre: Fundação Iberê Camargo, 2009), 54.
Work that does not belong to the collection of the Iberê Camargo Foundation. It was presented at the "After the End" exhibition, on view from May 18 to September 10, 2017.