In his first UK solo exhibition, Emanuel de Carvalho uses painting, sculpture and sound to question our ways of seeing in the current zeitgeist. Rooted in a conceptual preoccupation with phenomenology, new state investigates how structures of vision can be queered, challenging us to perceive queerness as an ever-changing state of being which extends beyond images of representation.
The subjects of de Carvalho’s paintings veer between sensuality and the sensorial. He visualises close-ups of soft human flesh with the hard, cold, bodies of cars; vehicles of masculine transition. The paintings have a rich texture, mimicking the lustre of touch. A line awkwardly severs the centres of two paintings, deviating our reading of the works from the perceptual norm, fragmenting the images into two parts. Like an ancient language we read the paintings from top to bottom, giving narrative form to softboi characters.
Across the gallery, de Carvalho installs a large wall. Not quite an artwork, it awkwardly interrupts the gallery visitors' experience. The wall decides how we navigate the viewing experience of the paintings, symbolic of how we move differently in our new state of being, the new normal. We are confronted with unfamiliar structures, which occupy familiar forms. This is a state of anticipation: we are forced to continue awkwardly navigating daily life in an epoch of crumbling systems, waiting for everything to fix itself. Vying between nihilism and hope, the wall serves as an instructional reminder that we are collectively navigating an apocalyptic reality.
Unassumingly closeted behind the wall is a sound installation, five small ceiling speakers arranged in a trapezoid. They emit a series of song samples which are abruptly stopped just before their musical peak. The sound mix mimics the endlessly unsatisfying crescendo of the Shepard tone: an anxiety-inducing auditory experience, which never reaches its climax.
Text by Róisín Tapponi