The work of Carlos Nogueira (Mozambique 1947), touching on a wide range of genres and addressing problems such as space, material and light, conveys a search for a place where sensitivity and intelligibility, silence and complicity, the ephemeral and permanent all come together.
His work, which came to light in the mid 70s, flows in constant renewal and his creative world has been broadened through a variety of artistic genres such as design, performance, installation, painting and sculpture. Throughout his activity, never once does he confine himself to a single genre, but rather positions himself at the intersection of several, thus, breaking down the respective barriers, exploring reciprocal influences, constructing and broadening his own artistic territory.
Through a variety of resources in his production of ephemeral pieces or situations and durable objects, the problems he confronts are, in fact, always the same; related, primarily, to light, colour, line, materials, surface and time. Ultimately, they are problems of a pictorial nature which set painting as the basis of their art.
There is always a purpose behind his interventions to establish art as a sacred place, not, however, by means of exclusion or disqualification, but rather through the transfiguration and sublimity of that which belongs to the common or daily sphere – materials, experiences, memories. The physical paths through space, both blatant and implicit, indicate the urge to reinvent it, to make of it a lived in space. Light, the expressive and vivifying element of materials and definer of space, also acts as a metaphor of the excellence and revelation to which the artist permanently aspires. As an alchemist, he seeks to bestow an unknown splendour upon his materials.
If nature – the sea, sky, mountains, river - emerges as an obsessive reference, this is, above all, connected to the importance Carlos Nogueira attributes to sensitivity, appearances, the ephemeral. Nevertheless, nature emerges in his work as an archetype of original time and place, the image of a return to origins, nostalgia of eternal purity and harmony. Hence, his works appear both as a tribute to the ephemeral and to change, while also as an exaltation of an essential order and that which is left. In both, the central issue is the connection between the visible and invisible, between appearances, what is beyond them, between the ephemerality of what passes and the eternity of what stays. Here is where the ideal of re-conquering harmony with the cosmos lies.
Translation by Tania Gregg
In Arte Portuguesa do Século XX, Lisboa, IAC / Neurónio, 1998.