Nara Roesler is pleased to announce Carlito Carvalhosa: Matter as image. Works from 1987 to 2021, a solo exhibition of Brazilian artist Carlito Carvalhosa (b. 1961, São Paulo, Brazil - d. 2021, São Paulo, Brazil) curated by Luis Pérez-Oramas and the artist’s estate. The show presents a selection of works developed during each of the artist’s most defining phases, highlighting Carvalhosa’s consistent understanding of a generative dimension of matter and materiality in visual arts.
Carlito Carvalhosa lived most of his life in Rio de Janeiro, embracing the radical legacy of Brazilian artists who preceded him, such as Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Mira Schendel, and Antonio Manuel, amongst others, whose propositions carried weight for the generations that followed them often translating into a conclusive no way out in terms of art practice. The entire repertoire of Carlito Carvalhosa’s oeuvre responded to this historical challenge, from his inception as a painter embedded in the deep sources of the formless to his striking performative installations using fabric, neon, wood, wax, mirrors, and sound.
Carlito Carvalhosa was the first Brazilian artist to occupy the Atrium of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York, on the occasion of his solo presentation Sum of Days (2011). He has long been recognized as a leading figure of his generation, and has received outstanding institutional acclaim in Brazil with works in the permanent collections of Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP), São Paulo, Brazil; Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, as well as in key private collections.
Carlito Carvalhosa was, alongside artists Nuno Ramos, Fabio Miguez, Rodrigo Andrade, and Paulo Monteiro a founding member of the group Casa 7, which embraced in Brazil the avant-garde of painting by the mid-1980s. Carvalhosa’s was among the most radical painterly investigations of that time in Latin America, notably through his early works on wax where the artist’s hand and fingers are visible as traces coming from behind, from underneath the very material support, inverting the classical proposition of painting.
The exhibition also delves into the centrality of sculpture as an expanded practice within Carvalhosa’s work, with ceramic and porcelains, ephemeral plaster sculptures as well as formless, monumental lost-waxes that Carvalhosa produced beginning in the mid-1990s. These works allowed the artist to re-visit, in continuity with his understanding of matter as a generatrix force of his work, new forms and classical typologies such as abstract draperies and imprints. His subsequent works on mirrors address the image as an inverted reflection, manifested by his reversed writing, and covered with paint. The colorful literality of forms collides with the transparency of mirrors, opacifying it. This repertoire of forms often echoes the three-dimensional volumes of his formless sculptures, waxes, and porcelains.
Lastly, Carvalhosa’s untimely passing interrupted a tireless production of serial paintings on wax where the artist stands out as a brilliant colorist, and as a contemporary master tirelessly investigating the potentiality for indexical marks. With works pertaining to each of these pillars of Carvalhosa’s production, Carlito Carvalhosa: Matter as image. Works from 1987 to 2021 delineates the brilliant arch within which the artist relentlessly explored matter and materiality in relation to image throughout his career, uniquely embracing and transcending the radical legacies of his predecessors.