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Antonio Claudio Carvalho: Naked Artists

Antonio Claudio Carvalho: Naked Artists
Library Shelf Location 18.CARV
Publication Date 2013
Description During my years as an artist, I’ve come to understand that with art it’s impossible to talk about only one particular thing at a time, and when it is, then it must be bad art. Good and excellent works of art in contrast spread out in a multitude of directions, they rise above different opinions and can even simultaneously incorporate conflicting interpretations and points of view. Regardless if this was the intention of the author or not. In the beginning the author has to invest himself in the work of art, but from a certain point onwards the piece will take off and start conveying messages that the author can’t control even if he wanted to. Mostly it’s for the best because ambiguity and multiplicity of meaning seem better and more adequate than only one concrete message or point of view. But it can also be a bit tiring and sooner or later the question will arise, if only on a theoretical level, about whether it’s possible for a work of art to be good and concrete at the same time? Not only for the artist but also for others? Is it possible to restrain the proliferation of work(s) of art without causing them to wither? Antonio’s idea to paint his artist friends, including me, naked reminded me of all these questions that are close to my heart and in some strange way made them clearer. First of all it is obvious that a naked human being, especially an artist, is never only and simply a naked human being. Here one can and even should talk first and foremost about all the things that nudity signifies making it almost a textbook case of how a simple act can open a door to many other topics, so that nudity of the body is almost left in the background. But not in my case. Unaware, Antonio managed to hit my most vulnerable spot, because being naked in public in any form has throughout my conscious life been my biggest obstacle, that has caused many embarrassing memories and made me develop a very effective and widespread compensatory mechanism which includes my art and my skills as an artist. This is no doubt a very classical complex and on a rational level I understand fully that I’m not a freak, but the few physical shortfalls I consider my body to have make a normal existence complicated enough for me and guide my life more than I realize. Analysing and rational thinking are not of much help, because talking doesn’t make the problem go away. Looking at people walking past me on the streets I see countless examples of people happily flaunting much more questionable bodies, although I must admit that I’m not at all convinced whether this kind of relaxed attitude is worth taking as an example or rather as a sign of total inadequacy. So much for that. I believe that body shame is the source for my renewable energy that guides and feeds all my aspirations unyieldingly. No matter how successful my endeavours are, I still have this thorn in my side that keeps tormenting me and making me carry on. There are two sides to every coin, which in this case doesn’t make the bad side seem any nicer or more fun. Luckily, perhaps? Being placed in a situation, thanks to Antonio, where I had to face my biggest obstacle again with all the subtexts and additional meanings, all the supposed parallels between physical and mental nudity, i.e. honesty, and all such jumbled interpretations and extrapolations dissolved by themselves and only the burning issue remained where I had to undress and be ready to stand nude in front of other people. I refused to pose in person and gave Antonio a photo I had taken myself, allowing me to avoid the worst of it. And of course I knew that with his style of painting, all the disturbing details would disappear and in the end I would come out relatively unharmed. I wouldn’t have agreed if it had been any other way. But coming back to what I learned from this experience. It is possible to be concrete, at least when only one person is concerned, if the rampantly diverging work of art is confronted with an equal emotion. It seems to me that fear is the biggest and most long-lasting emotion of them all. Shame and fear, hand in hand. If a work of art manages to nail the source of both of them, then there won’t be room for anything else. I don’t know if Antonio’s idea to paint his friends naked is good or not. I’m not able to give an objective opinion, because in my case it was not about art but rather remained within the boundaries of human experience and obligation to face (once more) my biggest obstacle. So based on my experience I can say that despite the different methods I have used to give my art substance it has remained still a game, that is to say a relatively safe environment, but at the same time the very human nuisance of body shame is still very much real despite all the efforts to downsize, numb and curtail it in favour of art. Thank you, Antonio, for getting me into this embarrassing situation. Kaido Ole Tallinn, 19 July 2013
Quantity 1
Pages 24
Authors Kaido Ole, Heie Treier
Format Exhibition Catalogue
Publisher Hobusepea Galerii
Related Artist Antonio Claudio Carvalho
Category Painting
Language English

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