Tuesday, May 09, 2006


In Yes I am no I’m not”, Isabel Carvalho (Porto, 1977) shows a set of works developed throughout the last year using essentially painting, drawing and installation, like Fode Aqui, Revistas ou Relógio. The transmission of messages both of political and social order has been a constant concern conveied in the artist’s work and can also be confirmed in this show. In these works one can see the meditation on identity issues, which has had as a starting point a set of real situations ocurred in the portuguese political and social context that were highly mediatized and that had a strong impact on the artist’s personal life.

The title of the show refers to a photography published in a newspaper (Público, March 3, 2006) illustrating an article about the portuguese prime minister’s visit to a school in Lisbon. The image showed an inscription on the classroom’s black board: “Yes I am, no I’m not”. This was the starting point of a meditation on issues about identity, latu sensu and, particularly, the artist’s own identity. Like Isabel Carvalho notes in a text witten for this exhibition: At the show “Estação Arqueológica” (SMS Gallery, Guimarães, Portugal, January, 2006) doubts arised about the pieces presented for the reason that these would mark the author’s identity position. If my all work results from more or less accentuated oscillation, of the desire of being multiple just like children can be, in any way would I think of affirming a univocal position towards my identity, that is still barely defined and with wich I deal very carefully. It seemed urgent to me and too important to be neglected, to refer to a specific situation that had occured months before the exhibition. The two teeanage girls’ romance was broadcasted and barely developed, even though it could seem like a trendy experience, an attempt to draw attention, or even an age’s like ambiguity (I doubt all these hypothesis), it could also have been a serious moment that will bring serious implications to their future lives. The publicly exposed affectionateness has had an effect in the deepest incomprehension of all those who do not conceive connections beyond “mummy-daddy”. What I intended to approach was not the fact itself, but what it unveiled. And that is: what we think about each one’s freedom respect, what we allow to be exposed publicly and what is the institutions’ control over the individual. Specifically from this case: what for us represents to be a woman and a homosexual woman.

Isabel Carvalho graduated in painting by the Fine Arts faculty of Porto and hás been playing a key role in the artistic activity that unrolls on the city’s alternative circuits. She has integrated the activity of several groups, like Ateliers Mentol and Balancette and finds in comics an feminism some of her artistic production’s main influences.

1 comment:

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