‘Her work reveals, it does not explain’, Adrian Searle
Galeria Leme presents the art of Lucia Nogueira, showing 28 drawings and watercolors. This will be her first exhibition in Brazil. The artist was born in Goiania in 1950, but lived and worked in London where she died in 1998.
Lucia Nogueira studied Communication and Journalism in Brasilia. In 1975, she visited London to see her brother who was studying at the Slade School of Art and decided to stay. Studying first at Chelsea School of Art and then the Central School she began her artistic career as a painter of large expressionist canvases, turning to three dimensions at the end of the 1980’s.
By the time of her tragically early death at the age of forty-eight, Lucia Nogueira had become one of the most individual voices in sculpture in the UK. As Joao Fernandez has written ‘her presence on the London art scene was like one of those brief flashes of lightning that cannot be seen, whose thunder is not audible, but which nevertheless makes us tremble through the reverberation with which they transform the dimension of the space we stand in.’ The artist Liam Gillick once described her as ‘taking things that are close to hand and imbuing them with malignancy and magic.’
This exhibition focuses on a selection of Nogueira’s works on paper. Only when she had given up painting did her drawings really come to life and they are imbued with wit, mischief and enigma. Drawings were absolutely central to her practice – she continued drawing until a few days before her death. Rarely directly referencing her work in three dimensions they are nevertheless pre-eminently a sculptor’s drawings and show an extraordinary sensitivity to the relationships between mass and space. There is also strength and vulnerability, darkness and light, vigour and delicacy.
‘My way of thinking is very much from Brazil: my way of picking up objects comes from there too. It is something connected with childhood and also with the Brazilian psyche. Our way of thinking is not as linear as it is in Europe … In art you obviously have a background in art history that is very rich. We don’t have that in Brazil at all . I think the way we developed our visual sense is different from the European model. I didn’t have that.. We just do everything in a very empirical way, even art.’
Nogueira’s work was the subject of a major survey show at the Museu Serralves in 2007/8 and Kettles Yard Cambridge in 2011. Her work is in many public and private collections in the UK, Europe and the USA. This will be the first exhibition in the country of her birth.
In Collaboration with Anthony Reynolds Gallery.