CARLOS Augusto Caminha VERGARA dos Santos was born in Santa Maria (RS), on November 29, 1941. At the age of two, he moved to São Paulo due to the transfer of his father, Reverend of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil. In that city, he studied at the Mackenzie College and, in 1954, moved with his family to Rio de Janeiro.
It completes the gymnasium in the Brazilian College of Almeida and there it is stimulated to the experimentation of several creative activities, besides receiving professional orientation. He studied chemistry and, in 1959, entered the competition at Petrobras, where he remained until 1966 as a laboratory analyst. Still in high school, he started the copper and silver jewelery handicrafts, whose result he exhibited in 1963 at the VII International Biennial of São Paulo. At that time, besides working at Petrobras, his main activity is volleyball, having played for the Fluminense Club several tournaments.
The acceptance of his jewelry in the Biennial leads him to consider art as a more permanent activity. That same year, he became a student of the painter Iberê Camargo, also a gaucho, at the Institute of Fine Arts (RJ). He then went on to become an assistant to the artist, working in his atelier.
In May of 1965, participates in the XIV National Salon of Modern Art (RJ). Meet the artist Antonio Dias, member of the same Salon, who presents the marchand Jean Boghici. This invites him to participate in the opinion show 65, which he organizes with Ceres Franco at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro. Inaugurated on August 12, the exhibition becomes an important landmark in the history of Brazilian art, highlighting the critical posture of young artists before the social and political reality of the moment. In December of the same year, he joined the Proposed 65 show, at the Armando Álvares Penteado Foundation, in São Paulo, with the works Election, Discussion on Racism and The General. He also participates in the Salon de la Jeune Peinture, at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, with Antonio Dias and Rubens Gerchman.
In March 1966, with the technical support of the architects André Lopes and Eduardo Oria, he won the competition for the execution of a mural in the auditorium of the National School of Public Health, in Manguinhos (RJ), with a panel design made with PVC pipes, measuring 4m high by 18m in length. The jury is composed of Flávio de Aquino, Lygia Clark and Lygia Pape. This project begins its approach to architecture, activity parallel to the artistic process, present until today in his life.
In April, he receives the Piccola Galeria Award, from the Italian Institute of Culture, for young Brazilian highlights in the plastic arts. Participates in the inauguration of the G4 Gallery, in Rua Dias da Rocha 52 (RJ), a space designed by the architect Sérgio Bernardes and directed by the North American photographer David Zingg. On that day, Vergara, Antonio Dias, Pedro Escosteguy, Rubens Gerchman and Roberto Magalhães performed a happening with wide repercussion in the city.
Also in 1966, he joined the group Pare: Vanguarda Brasileira, organized by Frederico Morais, at the Rectory of the Federal University of Minas Gerais.
In August, it is part of the opinion show 66, in the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, organized by Carmen Portinho, Ceres Franco and Jean Boghici, with the work My Dream at 18 Years. In the same month, Realidade magazine publishes an article signed by Vera and Mário Pedrosa about the young artists in Rio de Janeiro Antonio Dias, Vergara, Gerchman, Magalhaes and Escosteguy, with a photographic essay by David Zingg. In October, it premières the theater play Andócles and the Lion, of Bernard Shaw, mounted by the Group O Tablado, with direction of Roberto de Cleto, scenarios of Vergara and costumes of Thereza Simões. This is his first participation as a scenographer, an activity that will continue to develop during the 1960s.
It closes the year with an individual exhibition at Fátima Arquitetura Interiores (RJ), where he presents drawings made between 1964 and 1966, such as Le Bateau or A Caixa dos Sozinhos, a reference to the nightclub Le Bateau, frequented by Rio's youth at the time.
In March 1967, he received the First Painting Prize at the I Young Painting Salon of Quitandinha, Petrópolis (RJ), with the work Dream at 18 Years and, the following month, the O.C.A. in the Box Contest, an event promoted by Petite Galerie (RJ), which selects exclusively works designed in cash format. The exhibition, inaugurated on May 2, has the invitation designed by Vergara.
In April, he is one of the organizers, along with a group of artists led by Hélio Oiticica, from the New Brazilian Objectivity exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, which seeks to take stock of the Brazilian vanguard produced in the country. He signs the "Declaration of basic principles of the avant-garde" and, in this exhibition, participates with the works Indices of Fear, My Heritage Are Plastics and Self-portrait, all of 1967.
In September, he participated in the IX São Paulo Biennial, when he obtained the Itamaraty Prize. On October 9, he performs solo shows at the Petite Galerie. In this exhibition, Vergara presents works made with industrial materials. His acquaintance with industry and, above all, his familiarity with the development of new plastic materials, thanks to his work at Petrobras, were decisive for his creative process and made possible his desire to bring industry and art closer together.
In 1968, he held his first solo show in São Paulo, at the Art Art Gallery, presenting, among other works, the results of his recent experiences: boxes made with cardboard packaging, moving from the factory's own packaging stacks to the then sacralized spaces of museums and galleries, transforming them into sculptures.
Still in 1968, he made scenarios and costumes of the pieces Journey of an imbecile until the understanding, by Plínio Marcos, assembled by the Opinion Group, with general direction of João das Neves, music by Denoy de Oliveira and lyrics by Ferreira Gullar, and Youth in crisis , by Bruchner, together with the artist Gastão Manuel Henrique, presented at the Teatro Gláucio Gil (RJ).
In May 1969, he was selected for the X São Paulo Biennial. In the same month, together with Antonio Manuel, Humberto Espíndola and Evandro Teixeira, he was chosen to represent Brazil at the Youth Biennial in Paris. The Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro organizes an exhibition of the artists who would participate in this biennial, but a few hours before the exhibition is closed by order of the Cultural Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In November, he held a new solo show at Petite Galerie. Interested in investigating the relationship between art and industry, working in the Klabin packaging factory, he exhibits works in cardboard: stacked figures, faceless, and object-modules, created for the Packaging Fair, as well as designs and objects molded in polystyrene.
He is one of the founders of the Brazilian section of the International Association of Plastic Artists (AIAP), which has wide political activity until it is annihilated by censorship.