Lucia Nogueira

5 Oct 2018 – 20 Jan 2019

Exhibition in the Upper Sculpture Study Gallery, Leeds Art Gallery

Over the course of her short career the Brazilian-born, London-based artist Lucia Nogueira (1950-98) was recognised as an intelligent and instinctive maker of meaning through objects; a reputation that has only grown since her death. This exhibition presents rarely seen sculptures and works on paper from the Leeds Sculpture Collections alongside a number of loans.

Through installations based on the transformation of found materials alongside lucid drawings in ink and watercolour, Nogueira constructed liminal spaces that remain both unsettling and poetic. Nogueira is represented in the Leeds Sculpture Collections by ten works on paper and one sculptural installation.

Displayed in Leeds for the first time in fifteen years, the floor-based installation Black 1994 is composed from a shattered chandelier whose fragments are directed by a theatrical lamp suspended from the ceiling. The lamp is turned on just once to establish a circle that will remain empty, with the broken pieces clustered densely around the perimeter of the absent light and gradually spreading further apart as they reach the boundaries of the gallery. Attentive to the possibilities of making everyday objects strange, Nogueira often deployed fragmentary elements that resonate with fragility and menace.

The exhibition also includes four further sculptures, made during the mid-1990s, embodying the delicacy and danger inherent in materials of everyday life. Otherwise benign consumables such as a domestic fridge freezer take on more disturbing connotations when presented facing the wall and titled Hide and Seek, perhaps evoking the world of childhood warnings against becoming trapped and suffocating in discarded refrigerators. Stranger still, the framed postcard of a rabbit holding a suitcase that sits on top of the fridge freezer - an animal to which Nogueira frequently returned in her drawings.

Dating from 1989 to 1992 the selection of works on paper represents a fraction of a prolific body of work in ink and watercolour. Made on a flat surface in her London studio, these painted drawings are sometimes sparse and sometimes so densely populated that the ground is almost completely obliterated. Moving between inscrutable abstractions and recognisable representations of quotidian objects and popular fictional characters, they extend our understanding of her sculptural concerns while operating as resolved works of art in their own right.

Lucia Nogueira : a brief biography

The Brazilian-born artist Lucia Nogueira (1950-98) unintentionally settled in London in 1975 and went on to study painting at Chelsea School of Art and Design (1976-79) and the Central School of Art (1979-80). Having already completed a degree in communications and journalism in Brasilia and studied photography in North America, Nogueira came to the visual arts with a rare maturity and depth of interests.

While painting and drawing continued to form a crucial component of her work, by the late 1980s the production of sculpture had become central and would remain so for the rest of her life. Her appropriation and subtle manipulation of the material culture of everyday life drew comparisons with the Italian movement Arte Povera of the previous generation. She found and made precarious and potent objects which set the fragile and delicate alongside physical and emotional weight.

Older by over a decade than the Young British Artists who dominated the discourse during the period that Nogueria began to achieve critical recognition, her approach sat outside the bombast and spectacle associated with her peers.

Venue details

Venue address

Henry Moore Institute
The Headrow
United Kingdom
T: 0113 246 7467

Opening times

Galleries: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm

Research Library: Monday to Friday, 10am - 5pm
Archive of Sculptors' Papers: Tuesday to Friday, by prior appointment

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