carlito carvalhosa 1961 – 2021


It is with great sadness that Nara Roesler announces the passing of artist Carlito Carvalhosa (1961-2021), who leaves behind an immense and significant body of work. Carvalhosa was born in 1961, in São Paulo. In the early 1980s, he took on, with his colleagues from the Casa 7 Group, the great task of embracing another renewal of painting as a genre. It was up to this generation to reinvent the possibility of art after the sublime exhaustion undertaken by the previous generation. Carvalhosa attributed profound eloquence to the materiality of the support, while also transcending  in addressing broader issues, such as the transformations of space and time.


Carlito's work involved painting, sculpture, installation and performance. In his practice, we encounter tensions between form and matter, made explicit in dialogues between the visible, the subtle, the tactile. In the 1990s, he dedicated himself to the production of sculptures with an organic and malleable appearance, using different materials, such as his lost waxes. His practice expanded in the 2000s, occupying space with installations that dialogue profoundly with architecture, the landscape and the history of each place. Sound was also a central element in his investigations, in collaborations with musicians like Philip Glass and Arto Lindsay, or in performances like rio (2014) in which Carlito created a cacophony from the text My sweet river, by Lygia Clark.


“His work tells us that he knew how to embody the great legacy of modernity in Rio, that of Oiticica, Clark, Pape and Pedrosa, bringing it forward to the 21st century. In his work, the mystery of the affectivity of forms acquired a monumental dimension, an unprecedented territory, an inexhaustible expanded field. In other words, it was up to him – and this is one of the keys of his legacy – to create an encounter between the lesson of non-art and the infinite life of art, in order to re-inaugurate it ”– in the words of Luis Pérez Oramas.


We were able to witness the strength of Carlito’s creative power in iconic exhibitions such as The Sum of Days, at MoMA in New York (2011) and at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (2010); Waiting room, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo (2013) and It Was Already Like This When I arrived at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro (2006). Brazilian art has lost a fundamental figure of the period between centuries, but the world gains an immeasurable artistic legacy that it is our responsibility to keep alive, to continue interpreting and to place on the international level that it deserves.


“Carlito was not just an extraordinary artist, but an extraordinary person as well. We started our relationship through his work, always restless, experimental and enigmatic. We quickly became friends, and I became friends with Mari, his lovely wife, and his lovely daughters. At the same time, I discovered how much he was loved by his colleagues who, like me, loved his sweet and generous way. Carlito, they used to say jokingly, treated everyone with the elegance of a senior official in the diplomatic corps. As for me, I thought he was a prince. On such sad days, in his departure he will be so hugely missed. But his work will remain, it will stand the test of time, and with it Carlito’s light and his broad, beautiful smile, his affectionate look, his calm and loving words. ” – Nara Roesler