JOSELY CARVALHO/ BOOK OF ROOFS
My work is a
diary of the everyday. A book of loose pages – fragments without a beginning or
an end. The book is the body that transverses time and space. I’m never alone
in this trajectory – birds and turtles always accompany me.
Images is a persistent on-going narrative
where individual and collective memories walk hand-in-hand. Multiple mediums
and techniques interweave through references, repetition, multiplication, and
saturation. Pages from the Diary of Images are grouped in chapters that sometimes
expand themselves into other books or diaries. Like carnivorous plants, the
books can feed on each other.
Roofs, a chapter of Diary of Images has
Tracajá, my avatar, as its main protagonist. This small, nearly extinct turtle
from the Amazon Basin enters real, imagined, and virtual locations carrying our
shell, our home, and the portability of my laptop. Together, we travel between
crevices of dislocations, in a zone of intersection between dream and reality,
nature and artifice, life and death, art and non-art.
years living in New York, concentrating my gaze on the feminine and the
socio-historic, I initiated an imaginary and provisory flight of return do
Brazil. I included my birds – companions of innumerable and short Southern migratory
trips and started an intimate recognizance of a latent nest, with the emotion
of touching and smelling landscapes forgotten or perhaps never known. The
nucleus of this “revisiting” practice is the site-specific construction of a
sculptural, translucent nest of 1,000 interwoven glass-resin branches of
stable, avian architecture embedded in the fragility of glass. The point of
departure was the photography of a bird that in the process of building its
nest, crashed into its own reflection in a windowpane. It was a search for a
core – a primitive and powerful beginning, where
smell and its connection to emotion and memory reside.
Smell is essential to social and romantic relationships. Although our olfactory vocabulary is small, our nose is a
laboratory of chemical analyses, and a time
machine that can take us back to relevant
moments of our lives. The impact of its loss
can be devastating: eating, making love, or walking on a spring morning can turn into pale experiences. Inclusion of the olfactory in my work dates back to the
1980s, with the series Smell of Fish. In it,
the smell of fish wasn’t physically present,
merely the memory of my grandmother saying: “Take
your bath if you don’t want to smell like
codfish”. I tried to find this same prejudice in other cultures, and didn’t need to go far before an American friend said: “When I was thirteen, my brother said that
fish tasted like meat until God allowed Eve to bathe in the sea”. The installation/performance focused on
pleasure – a banquet where a woman exorcised, through
her memory of the smell of fish, poetry, and
serigraphy, the stigma that various cultures
have placed on feminine desire. Later, with
the United States invasion of Baghdad in 199
1, I entered the universe of wars. For this chapter, It is Time to Mourn, the smell of death was
inscribed on camouflage netting used in the
Gulf War, and the phantom smell of the desert
became real in the installations.
Diary of Smells looks to a multi-sensorial practice where the hierarchy
of the senses is not present. I was able to produce four original smells – The
Nest, The Ocean, The Wet Earth, The Hot Sun – that, in the Nidus Vítreo installation,
act as protagonists among other actors/actresses of the senses.
blog http://www. joselycarvalho.net/blog/diaryofsmells
has been published –a “smell map” of places visited and memories lived.