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4.9.2012 15.45 - Kuukauden taiteilija: Carlos No

Carlos No on portugalilainen taiteilija, joka työskentelee ja asuu Ericeirassa. Carlos No on opiskellut taidemaalausta ja kuvanveistoa AR.CO - Centro de Arte e Comunicaçãossa vuosina 1987-1992. Ensimmäinen yhteisnäyttely vuonna 1991. Hänen teoksiaan on ollut yhteisnäyttelyissä niin Portugalissa kuin ulkomailla. Ensimmäinen yksityisnäyttely vuonna 1994. Carlos No on saanut uransa aikana lukuisia palkintoja. Hänen teoksiaan on instituutioiden kokoelmissa Portugalissa ja yksityisissä kokoelmissa mm. Saksassa, Braziliassa ja Espanjassa. Carlos No käsittelee teoksissaan ihmisoikeuksia ja maahanmuuttoa, käyttäen maalausta, liikennemerkkejä, maalattuja miniatyyrejä ja muita materiaaleja. Galleria Maaret Finnberg esittelee messuilla teoksia Carlos No sarjasta ”Europe”. Art Helsinki 2012 12.-16.9.2012.

Between the small and sweet play-world and the repressed narrative that turns sour against the gaiety and attractiveness of its miniatures, Carlos No presents us with the turbulent and inexhaustible line of human exploitation, of the labour camps, impervious paths of indignity and death.

Ana Filipa Candeias

Carlos No. "Europe"

Carlos No is an unusual artist. Whether in the exhibitions Problemas de Aritmética (1998) and Classificados (2007),this_way_only_1 whether in the installation Desfiladeiro (2008), or in the current exhibition, Carlos No’s work does not confine itself to an experimentalist formalism dissociated from the fabric of the surrounding social reality. Carlos No idolises neither the aesthetic form in itself nor an abstractionism which is floating and free of any rules. Carlos No’s work is not based on free, imaginary forms as a source of matter. In this sense, by taking on a figurative realism in his pieces, by accepting the inclusion of the human figure in his installations as painted or miniaturised model figures, Carlos No is, on the one hand, swimming against the present aesthetic trend and, on the other, against the very tide that sets the trend. This trend is constituted by the cultural fads which have turned art into being a source and subject of the feeling and individual determination of the artist, according to which everything is art not because it might be conceptually interpreted as such but because it is declared as so by the artist. The tide that gives rise to this wave resides in the spirit of our time, which favours that which is new, exotic, unusual or imbued with aesthetical individualism rather than the inclusion within an aesthetic school or tradition, forcing art to become more and more detached from its former social function of aesthetic reflex of reality. Carlos No’s work manages, quite uniquely, the dual trait of being art of its own age (new, unusual, individualist), without relinquishing a deep social commitment.this_way_only_1

In fact, the art of Carlos No is wedded to the social element, being its lucid and voluntary reflex to which, in return, it commits itself. In Problemas de Aritmética (Arithmetic Problems), Carlos No deconstructs the reigning social hypocrisy, the Machiavellian logic of power which is also, and above all, the logic of the spectacle, exploiting the miseries of the world. His painting enables one to contemplate – as an emotional shock – the void that lies between the social reality and the conventional discourse, quite often of a scientific nature, quite often of a political nature, established as neutral, but always politically engaged and partial. Visually based on the deconstruction of this supposedly neutral discourse, the art of Carlos No intends not to reinvent new narcissistic realities, exploring and testing them, but rather to render clear or evident, by way of simple images, what reality in fact is. Carlos No’s paintings and installations are profoundly cinematographic; they describe more than they narrate and they express or visually reveal more than they suggest. In fact, the semantic effect of the sequence of the arithmetic operations or of the misspelled words expresses the happening straight away, displaying it for the spectator to “see” right this_way_only_1before him. This is the meaning behind the option for a very concrete lexicon of images, bound together in a dramatic composition, designed to “make see”.

In this way, each painting and installation reveals itself as an integral part of an aesthetic manifesto of denunciation. In Classificados (Classifieds), one realises that child labour, more than a political issue is indeed an issue of privilege of culture of ignorance. Firstly the evidence of a direct, immediate realism; secondly the shock of the ostentation of greed and ignorance present in the captions, as if social evil were born of the cross between these two psychosocial traits.

In this new exhibition the issue of immigration to Europe is dealt with ironically, by being denounced. Displaying the strong social commitment of Carlos No’s artwork, it could not have been more appropriate. In fact, on the 18th June 2008 the European Parliament approved, by a large majority, the “Return Directive”, concerning the deportation of illegal immigrants. This “Directive” offends the spirit of tolerance and contradicts the universality of the best Portuguese culture has to offer, as well as the very notion of “meeting of cultures” which the European Union rhetorically celebrates. It is precisely this reality that the art of Carlos No makes us see – the prevalence of interests over people, of the powerful over the weak, of hypocrisy over innocence, of the needs of the state over the needs of exitthe people, of a cold and calculating rationalisation over the human feelings of giving, generosity and communal sharing. In the future, Fortress-Europe will become so much more fragile as it is fortified, displaying through its demography, the absence of natural resources, the drain of scientists and artists to other continents (especially America). In effect, this continent is nowadays as decadent as Portugal has been since the 17th century. Since the First Gulf War (1991) Europe has been “set aside from History”, limiting its international scope to supporting the American single world power, the real triumphant supporter of History. The demise of imperial Portugal coincides with the demise of Europe, as both head towards the “great sleep” of the nations which have been disdained by History, such as the Chinese and the Greeks, slumbering throughout two thousand years since achieving an unprecedented civilizational zenith.

Let us ponder this idea upon leaving Carlos No’s splendid exhibition.

Miguel Real

Azenhas do Mar, December 2009