The art of Fernando Carpaneda
Interview by Flavio Speed Demon
S.D - Your work seems to be much inspired by the "loser" figure. What fascinates you about this attitude?
F.C - I don't consider prostitutes, drags, junkies, punks or homeless people as losers. On the contrary, they are honest with their attitude and have to courage to show their real face. They do what they like. They, the same way as me, do not belong to the mediocre kind of people who only want to see our negative side. We admit publicly our conditions and points of view, and this displeases many people.
S.D - Many of your sculptures depict rockstars like Iggy Pop, Dee Dee Ramone etc. Has your artistic background been influenced by some particular music scene?
F.C - Punk
S.D - In your biography your often refer to the XVII century, which makes us curious about your artistic formation. Are you an autodidact or do you come from some Arts school?
F.C - I am autodidact, I always liked to study and research about art, its history and tendencies. I also have many friends from the academic scene in Brazil, the US and UK. I do have a natural talent for the arts, and did not bother to get into academy to learn art techniques and history, the same way I have no difficulty in learning to write and speak new languages.
S.D - Has the fact that you lived the same experience and lifestyle of the people you depict helped you giving your sculptures more "sense of reality"?
F.C - To better understand a certain reality nothing better than making part of it.
S.D - When did you find out you were gay, and how did you face it?
F.C - That was never an option, I was born gay. For me this is genetic, just like having blue or brown eyes. I could be born a hetero but I was born gay, it’s as simple as that. And I Iove it. And I am proud of it. I never had problem dealing with that.
S.D - Is there a queer scene in Brazil (bands, places, fanzines, distributors etc)?
F.C - Yes, there is a queer scene in Brazil, especially in the large urban centres like Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. There are gay clubs like "A Loca". There’s also zines like Grindzine. There are also publications like "G Magazine" and "Mix Brasil". The musical scene is a bit weak. There is not a specialized segment. There are, on the other hand, a lot of pop singers that are assumedly gay, both man and woman, and they enjoy a lot of of success in Brazil.
S.D - Going through the list of your exhibitions, we realized that since 2001 all of them have been in the States: have you moved there?
F.C - I don’t live in any specific country. I have a house in Brazil and share and apartments both in NY and London with friends. As I am always traveling I can’t have a fixed place to settle. And I also have to spend a lot of my time in the streets with together with the people I depict.
S.D - We know you also work with video. Can you please tell us about it?
F.C - I have a bunch of works in video from the time when I was part of a performance group in Brasilia. We presented on the streets, on art gallery windows and other places. We filmed and presented these videos on a couple of events.
S.D - Your works mainly show borderline people, life on the fringe of society, with all the troubles and possible negative aspects that it involves. Have you ever wondered if your art, but also art in general, can be a conductor of positive messages too?
F.C - When you depict the "negative" sides of life you are acting positively because you make people question their own lives and ask themselves if their own actions are not taken sensibly in such a depressing world as ours is.
S.D - Have you ever had censorship problems with galleries for your sexually explicit sculptures?
F.C - Most Brazilian gallery owners and curators are homophobic and are declaredly afraid of gay people and underground art.