Paulo Humberto Ludovico de Almeida (Goiânia GO 1953). Draughtsman, painter, designer. He graduated in industrial design from the Scuola Politécnica Di Design [Polytechnic School of Design], in Milan, 1978, and from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro - PUC/RJ, in 1980. He took a course in drawing and modeling at the University of Brasília - UnB, as well as others at the Industrial Design Association of Naples, in 1983, taught by Ettore Sottsan, Gaetano Pesce and Van Onck. He began his professional career in the design agency of Mario Bellini, in Milan, between 1977 and 1978. He settled in São Paulo from 1989 on, working together with Carmela Gross and serving as an assistant to Mira Schendel. In this year, together with Carlo Zuffellato, he set up the BVDA/Brasil Verde design agency, designing catalogues for Nestlé and electronic media illustrations for the newspaper, O Estado de S. Paulo [The State of S. Paulo]. His artistic career began at the Youth Talent Exhibit, held by the G.R. County Museum, in Grand Rapids, United States. In the 1980s, he participated in salons and collective exhibitions in Brazil and abroad. In 1993, he was selected to represent Brazil in the Unesco Prize for the Promotion of the Arts, in Paris.
Gestural delicacy, elegance and subtlety are terms often employed by critics to define the work of Paulo Humberto de Almeida. Few materials and colors, as well as relatively simple procedures sum up the essential features of his paintings, objects and installations. These works, organized in thematic series, define a project marked by obsessions and reiterations, though open to new possibilities. The paintings from the 1980s evidence research on complementary tones, attention to gesture and textures explored through the use of natural pigments.
In the 1990s, Japanese paper and other delicate materials like voile, for example, were used in conjunction with brass wires, in Semi-Vertebrados [Semi-Vertebrate], 1993; with bronze plates, in Pequenos Esforços [Small Efforts], 1995; with rubber strips, in Pequenos Esforços [Small Efforts], 1996, and with copper sheets, in Venezianas [Venetian Blinds], 1998, whose juxtaposed surfaces were slightly articulated. India ink was another element used to react with the paper, at times plain, at other entirely changed by the action of the ink, like in Caprichos [Whims], 1998, and Velados [Veiled], 2006. Most works from 1999 and 2000 were enclosed in acrylic boxes, though the latter's transparency provided a connection with the environment.
Despite his preference for small formats and materials suggesting intimacy, Almeida also attempted large-scale works (like that produced for a sugar mill in Piracicaba, in 1992, or in Galé [Galley], 1993), and experimented with glass, steel and laminates, like in Portas e Janelas [Doors and Windows], 1992. The constant challenge is to incorporate the materials, "not to struggle against them" -, says Almeida.