“In the Fantasmagorias (Phantasmagorias) series of large-scale paintings, the artist creates a visual structure in which the figures take on a dominant, accentuated verticality, particularly with their chromatic linearity, in which the paint modelling those sordid figures is applied almost in its pure state, direct from the tube to the canvas. In the 1980s the figure reassumes its place in Iberê’s work, as a return to order, in which the agitated gesture retains its force in the construction of his figures, his characters.”
Blanca Brites, "Tempo em constante desafio", in Ana Maria Albani de Carvalho, Blanca Brites, Iberê Camargo: persistência do corpo (Porto Alegre: Fundação Iberê Camargo, 2008), 59.
“It would be wrong to state that Camargo returns to the painterly techniques that he employed in the wake of Lhote or De Chirico. On the contrary, the human figure now takes on a grotesque allure, carnivalesque, as in some cruel medieval theatre. The expressive resources offered by a painting that is hasty, violent, little concerned with correct anatomy or resemblance, are what constitute the basis of his new figurative style. They put one in mind of artists such as de Kooning or Dubuffet who always privileged a burlesque expressivity in their assaults upon the ‘bella figura’ that the humanist tradition had sought to privilege. The irony turns aggressive and such classical beauty as was valorised by De Chirico becomes nothing more than an ancient myth that the painter appears to wish to desecrate.
But whatever may be the case as regards the symbolic content of this new way of representing the human figure, however excessive the deformations it undergoes, Iberê Camargo does return to figurative painting, and this in itself constitutes a major break. It is in the context of this return that the appearance of the mannequin needs to be understood. This artificial and constructed being is the absolute Other of our own bodies – our bodies which live and suffer through their own various miseries. The mannequin is pure alterity, empty form, inanimate and yet – unless for this very reason – fascinating.”
Jacques Leenhardt, Iberê Camargo: os meandros da memória (Porto Alegre: Fundação Iberê Camargo, 2010), 108.