The Art of Fernando Carpaneda by Nicholas Forrest
I sometimes come across artists that I just have to let the world know about and Fernando Carpaneda is one of those artists, but be warned, because Carpaneda’s work is very confronting and will be not be to everyone’s taste. Those willing to keep an open mind and explore Carpaneda’s work will be glad they did because he is a truly amazing artist. A brave artist too. Brave enough to use rent boys, thieves, punks, goths, homeless people, and other unsavoury types as the subject of his work. If you are intrigued then please read on.
When I first saw a picture of one of Carpaneda’s works I didn’t know what I was looking at. What I saw looked like a photo of a person but had a surreal element to it that suggested that there was more to Carpaneda’s work than the image revealed. As soon as I found out that I was looking at a clay sculpture I was completely blown away. The level of detail and the amount of work put into each sculpture is quite astonishing especially for a clay sculpture. To give each sculpture a personal association with the person they depict, Carpaneda uses objects connected to that person in the sculpture. Carpaneda says about his work on his website that: “All his portraits are like a relic, a holy place, a moment caught in time. He uses objects that have a connection to the portrayed person to composing his work, such as cigarette butts, condoms, beer cans, underwear, semen, empty toothpaste boxes. In other words, things that are part of these people’s real world, and his own. He uses such objects and remains as a beginning for his portraits”
Most of the people we see on a day to day basis whether it be at work or at social event dress and prepare their appearance so that the look as one would expect a normal person leading a normal life to look. Most of the people that Carpaneda depicts, however, dress and prepare their appearance in a way that reflects their true personality. These are the sort of people one would normally want to stare at but would try and refrain from doing so because we are taught that it is rude to stare. Instead of depicting the perfect male figure that most people are familiar with as a result of classical sculptors, Carpaneda utilises classical methods and materials to construct highly detailed analogues of what many would consider to be the outcasts of society.
A classical sculpture of a nude male figure is an image that almost everyone is familiar with and is able to view without feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed or repulsed. A sexualised image of a homosexual male, however, is a totally different story. Carpaneda’s sculptures challenge our perceptions of gender and identity as well as questioning the labels that society put on people who do not conform to the accepted norm. Yes, his work is confronting and will not be to every one’s liking but it is undeniably the work of a talented artist who is not afraid of challenging the boundaries of artistic practice and confronting viewers with the issues of stigma and division in modern society.
Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of http://www.artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many others.
The Underground Art of Fernando Carpaneda
Today Fernando Carpaneda definitely is one of the most important artists of Brazil's underground art scene. Fernando began his career at age thirteen painting landscapes and unpretentious portraits. He honed his craft and talent with every new piece created. Today the young boy has become a man, his art acclaiming ever growing international recognition and appreciation! The early years of Fernando's career in Brasilia were not easy due to the strong influence of the "underground" and street culture depicted in his work. Social issues never witstanding. In the early years of his career, a renowned art gallery owner suggested changes in Fernando's works to make them ''fit better'' . Carpaneda broke with the conventionality of art galleries and took off for a far more more personal and radical artistic journey. Beginning to exhibit in unofficial spaces or just simply in the streets, he often got his inspiration from these very same places. At the same time some of the new admirers of his art became stars of international rock music or found fame in the film industry, including Arturo Vega (The Ramones), Leigh De Vries, Ginger Coyote, myself (Manoush) and many others. With aggresive creativity and the unusual use of unconventional materials (often coming from disposal), Carpaneda had finally established his art drawn from the streets after being invited to participate in a collective exhibition at the infamous CBGB`s Gallery in New York in the year of 2000. CBGB`s scene was definitely a door opener for Carpaneda and paved his way to enter the international art circuit. Fernando Carpaneda was one of the first Brazilian artists, if not THE first one, to disseminate and systematically display punk art and homoerotic art. His voracious engagement in the cause of diversity and punk culture led him to exhibit at Art Basel in Miami, the Tom of Finland Foundation in California, The Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis and The Leslie Lohman Museum in New York to name a few. His works are included in multiple art collections, galleries and museums around the world while also appearing in publications as The Best of Punk Globe Magazine, alonside Debbie Harry, Jamie Oliver(UK SUBS),Sid Vicious,Earl Slick,John Lydon,The Adicts,Glen Matlock,Joe Dallesandro,Andy Warhol,Pauley Perrete also in Treasures Of Gay Art, a book featuring Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, Jean Cocteau and many others. In June 18, 2012, some of his works were selected and exhibited at Times Square in New York, during the opening of the exhibition Art Takes Times Square. The works were exhibited in 10m² LED panels covering 23 floors (Nasdaq screens, Thomson and Reuters, Clear Channel Spectacolor, and A2aMedia's Port Authority) the exhibition was seen by over 1 million people.
Manoush, Tunis, February 2015.