(n.1972, Castelo Branco, Portugal)
Manuel Cargaleiro não é apenas um conceituado ceramista mas também um notável desenhador e pintor que se tem servido de diversos meios para exprimir emoções transitórias.
“Comecei a minha vida de artista como ceramista e sou ceramista mesmo quando faço pintura a óleo. Não consigo imaginar uma coisa sem a outra. As minhas duas práticas, claro que se influenciam mutuamente. Não posso esquecer todos os meus conhecimentos sobre a história da faiança ou sobre a decoração mural quando pinto, assim como não esqueço a minha cultura pictórica quando crio em cerâmica. Está tudo muito ligado, e é isso que constitui a minha especificidade. Eu não copio os meus quadros nos azulejos: pinto diretamente sobre a faiança, sem desenho prévio, como numa tela.”
Manuel Cargaleiro, a Portuguese artist, began his first artistic experiments in 1945. He joined the Geography and Natural Sciences courses at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, which he left to devote himself full-time to the arts.
In 1952, he had his first personal exhibition at the Palacio Foz in Lisbon. Two years later he taught at the António Arroyo School of Decorative Arts. This was also the time when he frequented the Café Gelo du Rossio, where the “Gelo Group” was formed, comprising young artists linked to the Surrealist movement such as Mario Cesariny, Luiz Pacheco and Ernesto Sampaio. He also frequented the café “A Brasileira”, known as the place for artistic and literary meetings.
He studied ceramics in Florence, Rome and Faenza, thanks to a scholarship programme offered by the Italian government. In 1958 he joined another project in the same discipline in Gien, this time financed by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. He created the Azulejo earthenware tiles, of which he became the true master; an art that is still very important today in Portugal and Italy.
Manuel Cargaleiro began to create large mural compositions at the beginning of the 1950s. His passion led him to move to France in 1957, which became his second homeland. He was influenced by the artists of the École de Paris, who developed his art with the Parisian avant-garde (Delaunay, Ernst, Vasarely, Klee, etc.). His art is built on constant exchanges between ceramics and painting. His compositions are based on geometric modules and a range of primary colours, yet very rich in nuances, suggesting movement in space. If painting and graphic works are expressions of intimate values, mural ceramics play a social role.
Manuel Cargaleiro was commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, Portugal and Italy; in Paris, the artist created frescoes for the Champs-Elysées Clémenceau metro station in 1995, and also worked for the Vietri Museum. He receives recognition and honour both in France and in his native country (Officer of the Arts and Letters, Grand Cross of the Order of Merit).
On January 31, 1990, he created the Manuel Cargaleiro Foundation in Lisbon, to which he offered a vast collection of his works and a collection made up of objects of various themes. In 2004, the Foundation-Museum “Museo Artistico e Industriale Manuel Cargaleiro” was inaugurated in Vietri sul Mare, Italy, to which the artist donated numerous works. This place is an important centre for the art of ceramics and the works of many international ceramists are presented there. In 1999, he was awarded the first International Grand Prix “Viaggio attraverso la Ceramica” of Vietri sul Mare.
In 2015, the Foundation-Museum “Museo Artistico e Industriale Manuel Cargaleiro” will be transferred to Ravello, Italy.
In 2005, it inaugurates the Manuel Cargaleiro Museum in Castelo Branco, Portugal.
In the autumn of 2016, the Museum “Oficina de Artes – Manuel Cargaleiro”, designed in collaboration with the architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, was inaugurated in Seixal, near Lisbon, on the other side of the Tagus River. This project is an initiative of the Seixal Town Council in collaboration with the Manuel Cargaleiro Foundation.
Manuel Cargaleiro lives and works between France, Portugal and Italy.