Carlos No brings to Galeria Monumental a set of works created between 2018 and 2022. Following on from his previous works, the works presented are constructed from objects and materials from the world around us. These raw materials may be more or less familiar, but they emerge completely out of context from their common environment. Mattresses, chairs and blankets gain unsuspected lives in works such as Lanho, Noturno, Pendente, Fratura, Díptico, Anónimos, or even Catre. Accompanying them, we find a series of objects rescued from an industrial and analogue world on the verge of losing their intelligibility and disappearing: file metal drawers, handsets and telephone wires, spring-loaded mousetraps, wooden sewing hoop, twenty escudos bills. Transformed into raw materials, these objects give works such as Enxovia I and Enxovia III, Rumor, Antónios, Cortina and, again, Noturno, an archaeological dimension that enriches the universe of memories and symbolic connotations that are also associated with them. The artistic works based on gleaning—transformation—construction—densification presented in this exhibition accumulate within themselves the strength of a fight against oblivion, a fight whose pertinence is dictated by the present we live in. Carlos No evokes in these pieces times dominated by oppression, the lack of freedom and the torture of political prisoners in the context of dictatorships that overshadowed Europe and the world. At the same time, he brings up issues that have always occupied him: the influence of the human condition, poverty, social inequalities. The potential for solidarity and mutual aid that responds to the crushing of deprivation and oppression is the most solar dimension that this exhibition offers us. Even if the corresponding halves of the bills in Antónios are nothing more than an unfulfilled possibility, and even if the fragile supports that welcome the plunge into Sebastião da Gama’s poetry leave us dying four fingers from heaven, a ray of sunlight can always illuminate the present.
Translated from portuguese by Ana Pereirinha