Film Festival Interview : Fábio Carvalho

July 20, 2019

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work

 

Since my childhood, the first contact that I had with art was as a dancer. At that time, my focus was to express myself through my body movement, following the rhythm of the sound. Over the time, I started wondering which other ways could interest and allow me to create narratives, using my body work as a tool - I was frequently using it in dance.

 

Digging deep through my personal feelings and experimental work, drawings, writing and body performance, drove me to the power of image which suddenly I start falling in love with. All these experimentations took me onto the path where I am today – a mixed media artist that avoids to categorize myself with a unique medium. As somebody that express himself through artistic objects, my focus is to follow my ideas and represent them perfectly in the way that I pictured them in my mind taking into consideration the limitations that materials or budget represents in the moment.

 

I’m always looking forward to experiment and connect myself with new and different things. At the end, my outcomes combine many different areas that I’ve been exploring throughout my life, gathering components of my personal vision and perspective towards a specific topic or narrative that I’m amazed with.

 

 

What set you off as an artist?

 

I never thought of “what differs myself from the others” but like every person – the personality, opinions, feelings and the life story behind your work are features that makes everybody so unique and distinguishes every message that each creative person has to offer.

 

Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work

 

I don’t consider that I have a specific theme that I often approach with my projects. The themes that I 'touch' with my artworks are reflections and representations that appears during my pursuit for new narratives which usually are triggered by someone that I see on the streets, an action that inspires me and makes me want to defragment and recreate something new, a sound that triggers me to picture an image or body movement or just a single image that makes me feel that I need to interfere or capture. Basically, the themes that I approach in my work depends on the situations that I put myself through and the places and environments that I go to or live with.

 

The idea of “Fora de Tempo” video came from photo slides that I bought in an antique fair. Until today, I don’t have any idea whom is the owner of those 'frames' but they instantly caught my attention. From the framing and composition of the images, I can tell that the photos were photographed by someone that had a strong and personal connection with cameras or images. I felt connected and I decided to develop something with them. The image content of the slides is something very private and I kept wondering what existed beyond those photos. That intimacy took me to a point of overlaying sublime clips of body movements as a way of praising my possession of those images adding up my personal view towards memories that I never lived.

 

 

What is your favorite medium to use?

 

Lately I’ve been exploring many ways to shape up components such as performance, photography and film, through artist books and installations. The visual compositions are endless and for me is overwhelming attributing new possibilities and configurations for my artworks in a space or in a book. My work is about many and different pieces that I bring together to explore specific cases. Sometimes seems that I’m travelling in time and I came back to my childhood when I used to have an obsession for puzzles. So far, I can tell that I’ve been enjoying these recent practices.

 

What art do you most identify with? any specific influences or research areas?

 

It’s funny... because sometimes I wonder which kind of work I would produce if I was living in the 20th century but... it’s not the case! I consider myself as a contemporary artist, not only because makes sense to say this since I’m living in the 21st century but because, in my opinion, contemporary art turned out to be something 'aside'. On those days, I feel that if you are an art practitioner there is no rules or impositions to follow. My experience as mixed media artist sometimes can seem quite random in a level of coherency of approached themes or materials but for me makes sense since we are living in a world overloaded with information – the internet and social media appearance brought a new and digital dark era to contemporary art.
In terms of art influences, apart from what was previously mentioned, I considered that theatre, video performance, French cinema and music/ fashion industry unconsciously influence some of my projects.

 

Is there something you couldn't live without in producing your work? what is your most essential tool?


The use of a camera and a body have been tools that I constantly use – if not in every project that I develop, at least in most of them. My camera has been my best partner/friend in every ups and downs throughout my work production. This tool allows me to 'filter my gaze'. My mind is not capable of framing a single image without telling inherent many things – otherwise it just drives you to a single interpretation. The body has also been an important central tool of my work for it allows me to move, to create – yet has not been only a tool but also a subject that I usually like to approach and create compositions with.

 

 

 

Tell us how you organize, plan, and prioritize your work

 

Before I start a project, I need to feel what I’m up to, is it going to add something new to my work? I take into consideration if, with that project, I’m going to have something new to tell, to explore or mainly, if it's going to be something that it will bring joy to my daily routine?

I consider myself as a methodic person and I guess that this fact was due to the discipline I used to have as a dancer. It depends on the idea because each idea can guide me to a different approach/procedure but the process of creating a dance piece is something that is translated into the production of my present artworks – first, comes the exploration and research phases, after finding the perfect pieces to guide me to a final shape, I get focus on giving form to my final outcome and at the end, I give proper documentation to exhibit the project in a digitally way, ready to be exhibited in a space. If it is a commissioned work, or if I have a deadline to accomplish, it becomes my priority.

 

How would you describe your approach to film and photography?

 

My first contact with film and photography came earlier when I was just focused in dance. I started using film to create video performances and photography to capture images and stories that were not specifically connected with my dance practice. Expressing myself and falling constantly onto narratives, cinema came as a possibility and solution for my lack of time to keep practicing dance. After a while, exploring film and photography, experimentations drove me to discover my own language. I consider that my animus as a creative person was encouraged by a deep connection with my existence, and my roots, evoking through my projects fictional or true stories from unknow people.

 

“Portal” video started when I was developing many video arts and I didn’t know how to bring all of them together. At that time, I was looking for a way to lead public to take part of my artworks and to have control over the final outcome. It was then that I found the final shape of “Portal”, a video that brings a mixture of a survey and game, through a computer layout, where everybody gets a different final code considering all the personal answers (the 'input'). Therefore, 24 encrypted videos co-exist but each final code only gives you access to a single private video.

 

Do you have any upcoming projects or exhibitions?

 

Currently, I’m producing some collaborations and some solo projects.
I’m developing a collaboration with a friend of mine, Alice Albergaria Borges - she is such an amazing and creative artist. We are developing a project that mixes our creative languages. I’m documenting, through photography and film - the Alice’s world – and also the collections that she has been developing during these past few years. For me, it’s a major project that has been exciting; not only for giving us the opportunity to work with many other people but also for giving us a chance to create something – using a creative language and method that we have in common.
Lately, I've just finished a documentary that I did in collaboration with some friends and I’m finishing a photography book that has its origin on an essay film that I directed

and it is nearly finished. The title of the project is “Seated at a Table with You” and it is built through voyeurism reflections of seven days spent inside a coffee shop, making contacts with total strangers.


I’m also starting a new photography book which it will be the basis to a new film. The photography book brings images from strangers that I found on the streets around Europe and creates dialogues with composed pages of detail shots of uninhabited and unknow spaces.

I’m quite excited to say that I will take part of Murze Film Festival this year, which will take place from July-20th until August-20th.


At last, I’m developing an art catalogue for a sculpture artist – Rodrigo Gomes – in collaboration with Joana Barros (one of my friends and an amazing designer). My contribute to this catalogue has been as a photographer/ editorial designer – soon I hope that you will get more information about this publication.

 

Shortly, I still don’t have any close dates to upcoming exhibits and some of the projects that I recently finished are still looking for a space to be showed to the public – so this means that every interest or new opportunities to exhibit/produce my artwork are more than welcome.

 

 

 

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