Interview: Fernanda Carvalho

Fernanda Carvalho is an artist from Sao Paulo, Brazil, born in 1981. She is currently in residency at the NARS Foundation in New York. Fernanda has been perfecting a particular technique in which light and prisms intervene in space; this intervention is then registered through photographs (and thus transformed again through another lens). We had a brief conversation with her about her work

I2: What was your trajectory in the arts?

F: I didn’t go to art school, I graduated in advertising. I always wanted to work with image and experience, but when I worked in an advertising agency I found out that I didn’t want to connect art with publicity. Maybe because I wanted to do what I was thinking and not what other people would approve of.

I2. When did your work with photography and light started and how did it develop?

F: I started my work with photography (light) when I was writing poems. I would mix them with images (visual poems). I also did some encounters with friends from the art world and projected images in some spaces. This is how I started.

I2. What is the impact of the artistic residencies in your practice?

F: The artists residencies so far where places where I managed to be immersed on my work and, thus, develop clear processes. While I am in residency, it means creating more. And when the residency is over,  organizing what I’ve done. Besides the networking, inherent to residencies, which is important.

I2: What was your first contact with photography?

F: I was really young when I was first exposed to photography, probably 4 years old, but I remember that my sister was studying photography and she would put me in all sorts of places to photograph me. She was “doing the work with me”. And I think this is when I realized what was a camera and what taking photos meant.

Lamp and reflection, 2016, magnifying lens on lamp acrylic and print
Lamp and reflection, 2016, magnifying lens on lamp acrylic and print

I2: Tell us about your work process. Do you test the lights and materials (crystals, mirrors) in several places? Do you work with natural or artificial light? How do you deal with this manipulation?

F: On my daily life I started to notice reflections and natural lights, which were part of my house or of places I would pass by.  And I used to photograph these as a “light diary”. Then I started to project these lights in new places I would go to (studios from artistic residencies for instance) and then the projected lights and the present space started to promote some perceptions. I then started to experiment this analyzing some particularities involved in the compositions, such as light spectrums & reflections – which is why I use prisms and mirrors

 

CMYK, 2016, still projection on frame
CMYK, 2016, still projection on frame

 

CMYK, 2016, photography
CMYK, 2016, photography

I2: Can an image change the world?

F: Change the world….! I think that intentions – a big group with intentions –  can make progress (I see change as progress for this question). And every intention carries within it an image, right? Or, at least, a certain look.

Untitled, mirror sheet
Untitled, mirror sheet

Bio:
Graduated in Social Communication at FAAP-Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado (São Paulo, Brazil). She has recently studied Photography at ICP – Institute of Contemporary Photography (New York, USA) and Philosophy at Tomie Ohtake (São Paulo, Brazil). Her works were exhibited in 20º Salão de Artes Plásticas (Praia Grande, Brazil) Virgílio Gallery (São Paulo, Brazil), Cartel011 Gallery (São Paulo, Brazil), Bethanien Cultural Centre (Berlin, Germany), A/NT Gallery (Seattle, USA), The Gallery at the Watershed (Eugene, USA), Ateliê2E1 (São Paulo, Brazil) and Glassbox (Paris, France). The artist has been in many art residencies, Colônia de férias, Ateliê397 (São Paulo, Brazil), Berlim_Im_Fokus (Berlin, Germany), Camac Centre D’Art (Marnay-sur-Seine, France) and other activities as the Transnational Dialogues research project (Brazil, Europe, China) and Contemporary Art Project, Miami Art Basel (Miami, EUA).