Sainsbury Centre announces two new acquisitions

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Sainsbury Centre announces two new acquisitions
Diagonal Cut, Günther Uecker, 1965. © Gunther Uecker / DACS 2023; All rights reserved.

NORWICH.- The Sainsbury Centre announced the acquisition of two important works, Accepted in Lieu of Inheritance Tax by HM Government and allocated to the Sainsbury Centre.

The two reliefs by artists Sérgio de Camargo (1930-1990) and Günther Uecker (b.1930) are now on public display at the Sainsbury Centre. The relief came to prominence in the post-war period and the Centre has a remarkable collection that demonstrate the way this artform developed across Europe and South America. Transcending the confines of traditional painting or sculpture yet combining both these elements in this new artist language. Both these artists are underrepresented in UK collections.

Relief, Opus 267, 1970 by Sérgio de Camargo expands the Centre’s holdings of abstraction and specifically works relating to the neo-concrete art movement associated with his native Brazil. This dynamic work is an example of de Camargo’s monochromatic white reliefs made whilst living in Paris from 1961 to 1974. It demonstrates the artist’s fascination with the interplay of light and shadow to accentuate the realm of lived experience. Camargo stated, 'Having never been a painter it may be that my choice of white for my reliefs and sculpture corresponds with a desire to annihilate the surface qualities of matter in order to accentuate the power of structures which work together through interpenetration of light and space.’

The German artist, Günther Uecker, now 92, has long been recognised as one of the greatest German artists of his generation. Diagonal Cut, 1965 is one of Uecker’s iconic white nail reliefs, created when the artist was part of Group Zero.

Uecker hammered nails into a white canvas covered panel, serving both as a performance and action of which the finished relief is a powerful manifestation. Rather than purely focus on the finished result, Uecker’s art revealed the action of nailing as a way of penetrating the rift between art and reality. Uecker called them Nagelbild Informelle Struktur (informal nail structure) examples of what is more generally referred to as Process Art. The rhythmic hammering of the nails was executed with a ritualistic or mediative transcendent repetition. Through his interest in spiritual existence and fascination with purification rituals, such as the Gregorian chant, he engaged in his own rituals of repetition, hammering of nails for extended periods of time.

Calvin Winner, Head of Collections states: The allocation of these two important works to the Sainsbury Centre complement and enhance our representation of international artists working in abstraction and conceptual practice. Both works are archetypal examples of the dramatic shift in artistic practice that occurred in the late-twentieth century and yet speak of the universal and timeless nature of art.

Michael Clarke CBE, Chair, Acceptance in Lieu Panel, said: “I am delighted the important works: Relief, Opus 267 by Sérgio Camargo and Diagonal Cut by Günther Uecker have been allocated to the Sainsbury Centre through the Acceptance in Lieu Scheme. The Camargo relief, by one of the most important Brazilian artists of the second half of the twentieth century, will enhance the collection of post-war Abstraction at the Sainsbury Centre; and the Uecker is a prime example of his work while a member of the ZERO group. I hope that these acquisitions for the Sainsbury Centre will encourage others to use the Scheme and continue to support our national collections.”

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