mais desenhos de casas. para ti: Carlos Nogueira at 3 + 1 Arte Contemporânea

Just before I got to 3 + 1 gallery, evening was starting to set in. The wide windows showed a strong, compact light coming from the inside, made possible by the white walls, that shaped a rectangle when seen from the outside. For those who were on this side, in the street, Carlos Nogueira’s suspended objects revealed inside the gallery their lightness, their subtle form.

The contrast was striking. The pieces’ blackness coexisted clearly and fully with the walls’ whiteness.

Curiously, the curator Carolina Grau, in the text that comes with Carlos Nogueira’s exhibition mais desenhos de casas. para ti,tells how the artist, in his house, ends his days, after work, watching the sunset through his window, like a ritual. A sunset that Nogueira appreciates for its mutability and transitoriness. Once, the artist tirelessly reproduced cloud variations.

The white of the gallery walls seems like a window to the world. Within it we observe objects suspended or stationary. They are usually object trouvet or objects handmade by the artist. The black colour of these objects strongly contrasts with the light and pale colour of the walls on which they are hung.

On the other hand, they are in sharp contrast with the mundane of the street which, whether we like it or not, is a constant presence in the exhibition, one that we cannot ignore.

After entering, we can’t help but see, through the windows, and already late, what goes on outside the gallery and the atmosphere we perceive from the street. The magic of the pieces, with “their enchanting power”, reminds us of “a secret ceremony”, as Filomena Molder would say, or of a “silent art”, as Rui Chaves could mention, opposes the everyday life outside the gallery.

Objects of different materials, such as metal and wood for example, are covered in charcoal. This blackness enhances the contrast between the objects and the environment in which they are installed, reminding us of drawing, usually made with the colour of graphite, or charcoal on a white sheet of paper. This is a compliment to drawing. But a drawing that is not limited to pencil and two-dimensional support. On the contrary, its forms escape the two-dimensionality and flood the gallery, drawing lines in space, invading the visitor’s path, teasing them.

The black line that breaks free from the wall recalls Nogueira’s drawing and a phrase: “Pencils for painting grey days”. “Pencil for painting grey days” was the name the artist gave to a project at the gallery Diferença, in 1979. Some photographs remain of it, where the gallery floor appeared all covered with colored pencils.

The line trajectory becomes three-dimensional and shapes objects of rational and geometric lines, hinting at industrial products, transforming these into irregular forms and new semantics.

There is the unspeakable in the things we observe. For example, in desenho de vento, painted in white, made of curved irons, which appear aligned on the wall, we find what cannot be translated by words. Only the installation or the sculpture can invariably pronounce, with its materials, its shadows on the wall, colour, form. It is like an image of emptiness. The emptiness which also corresponds to a certain recollection, to a thought turned inwards, to the inner voice of the artist, alien to the trendy artistic languages or focused on the art forms in force.

There are no stated forms from other artistic periods. It takes time to read the pieces. They require an apprenticeship.

The house theme is the binding motif, but it is not obvious. It retains the mystery that struck us as soon as we entered the gallery. We find the theme in the pieces empena norte (2021), planta irregular (1999-2022), desenhos de casas pormenores. com vista de jardim, (2021), pára vento (2021).

We see both shelters and disjointed elements. Are they true shelters or fragments of what had once been a cohesive memory of a house? Or of the happiness of a house or even of nostalgia for security? The house and its shadows, the ghosts and fears, the complexity of its field, in the Wittgensteinian domain of the term. That’s when I remember a verse by Manuel António Pina and his most dense words: “For nothing emerges with its own form. I say ‘home’, but I mean moons and sills, quenched memories, the body’s darkness, lucid, throbbing in the obscurity of internal rooms.”

The exhibition, with its shadow games, ends with a descent into a basement. First, we come into contact with desenho de vento on the wall and its rippling shadows. Then we are taken by the glimpse of a table, where we find objects of diverse shapes, covered in white and opaque paint. Paint that reminds us of a timeless condition, as Carolina Grau says.

mais desenhos de casas. para ti is at 3 + 1 Arte Contemporânea until April 30, 2022.

Carla Carbone was born in Lisbon, 1971. She studied Drawing in and Design of Equipment at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon. Completed his Masters in Visual Arts Teaching. She writes about Design since 1999, first in the newspaper O Independente, then in editions like Anuário de Design, arq.a magazine, DIF, Parq. She also participates in editions such as FRAME, Diário Digital, Wrongwrong, and in the collection of Portuguese designers, edited by the newspaper Público. She collaborated with illustrations for Fanzine Flanzine and Gerador magazine. (photo: Eurico Lino Vale)

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