O equívoco e o caroço
In his second exhibition at the Galería PONCE+ROBLES, artist Carlos Nunes (Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1969) involves himself with topics related to the analysis of colour, but this time his approach is also based on the semantics of the word. As he himself says, “I think like a painter who is on the side of science, looking for colours in scientific thought and sometimes in poetry.”
As he is thinking about colours, the artist also has materials in mind, since mud, bronze, silver and gold are, semantically speaking, also colours. In addition, throughout history many of these materials have been considered “precious metals”, bringing to mind the practice of alchemy and more specifically, the transmutation of materials in gold.
“I found it interesting that the first colour I think of, as a word, is orange, the cheapest, most mundane fruit you can find in Brazil. It was there that I began to visualise this exhibition as emanating from the gallery’s central column, as if it were a tree, an achromic tree, transmuting the colour of the orange through other colours. On the gallery’s walls I visualised an installation with paintings and materials that also have meaning as colours, such as silver, gold, graphite, egg yellow, among others.”
Nunes’ project for the gallery includes works painted directly onto the gallery walls. These works display the character of their raw materials, as well as acting as small still life sculptures. They are sculptures with small chromatic ambiguities (achromic objects), and other objects that in turn also refer us back to colours, such as bottle green, avocado and brick. In this way, colour is united with the semantics and the material of the object which, in turn, contains chromatic ambiguity (achromia).
“Caroço” is the word we use in Brazil for the seeds of some fruits, such as the avocado, for example. But in this context it is a stronger word than seed. The translation I found in English would be more like “stone” or “pit”. Achromia is the word used to describe the colour mutation that albinos are born with.
Although the works of Carlos Nunes always have a remarkable visual appeal, what characterises them is not their form, but the way in which these forms are constructed, or to put it more precisely, the way in which they are imagined, planned and finally accepted. No retouching, just as they are. In this sense, it could be said that their creation essentially involves the conception and realisation of artworks using a quasi-scientific approach, as if each drawing, sculpture or installation were, in fact, an experiment to be empirically verified, a theorem to be demonstrated, or simply something that has not yet been discovered or invented.