Entre duas águas
by Bernardo Pinto de Almeida
One could say: it’s a landscape, Or: I’ve been here. Yes, I was here before, even before seeing what I see now. I was here always, waiting silently. Because these pieces, these different sculptural elements have summoned from the silence of stone and metal a memory.
A memory of art – arte povera, in particular – which becomes a memory and a refiguring of what nature has given us, in accordance with the image of nature in each of us.
Here, a sustained line that evokes the horizon; there, a box containing stones which leads us to reflect about time. The present and the past alone, distanced from the future.
And further on, a long box that follows the wall, then moves away from it, a sketch. In another place, mountains – or space capsules – like regressions, and between them all is a path that floats, that opens itself and then closes again.
Everything depends on how these pieces express themselves inside a territory that wasn't there before, because previously there were only the walls, the floor, the ceiling and the empty space. And now the objects generate, amongst themselves and in juxtaposition with the anterior space, something else, something that can't be seen but only felt, that nevertheless is present, that can exist within us at the same level of reality (or resemblance) that an image in a mirror possesses.
These pieces exist between two waters; the world of memory and that of space – as a reflection, an appearance, a suggestion.
And they have the extraordinary ambition of wanting to interrupt time, to suspend its passage. All parts function as if to sustain the fleeting nature of the moment, to sanctify it by making it something that endures (or resists). As if a whisper had been heard saying: time stops here, in this instant.
It is the ambitious aim of the artist to try to capture the moment, fix it in an image. And it is here that this work distances itself from projects of arte povera and conceptual art to affirm itself in an unstable territory of lyric dimensions; as if in this territory (or through it) the image could say: «I saw passing all the beauty of the world and here is what remains of what I saw (or felt): fragments, even ashes. But here in these ashes still glimmers a spark of that beauty.»
Carlos Nogueira is a man overcome by figures of beauty. All his work consists in restoring the materials he uses to their noblest form: a stone will be a stone, a piece of metal, metal, even gold...
Like a gold miner, he searches for that moment in which the material splits apart, when from an amorphous mineral fragment emerges what was previously hidden.
His method, too, is that of a set designer: his work contains the disquiet that exists in the heart of restful silence, prompts an understanding and accord that aren't of this world, that are moonlit and obscure.
His colors of choice are black and white because their confrontation heightens contrast, the dimension of that which exists between two places, between night and day or between two moments in time, because what he wants to tell us is that everything always happens in between, in an interstitial space (inframince) that is not tactile, where words cease, where the glance loses itself in dream and in the contemplation (or memory) no longer of things but of their very absence.
There begins this artist's work. And there it ends. Arrêt d’ image.
«Entre Duas Águas», the title of this exhibition, could be translated as «Between Two waters».
In the context of the introductory essay, however, the phrase has two literal meanings, both of which make reference to colloquial usages of the word «águas» in Portuguese: the time between periods of rain, and; the space between slanted surfaces of a roof.
The figurative meaning and poetic connotation, as suggested in the text, is that the artist’s work exists between the realms of memory and space – entre duas águas.
Translation by Richard Zimler
In Carlos Nogueira, permanência da água, Lisboa 1994, p. 19-21.