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Emanuel de Carvalho

Emanuel de Carvalho's practice reflects on perceptive constructs, in particular pertaining to medicalisation, gender-identity, and institutional power structures. Drawing from an academic background in visual processing studies and the phenomenological interpretation of imagery and sound, de Carvalho weaves together various artistic mediums, including painting, installation, and sound, to examine our ways of seeing and perceiving in the current zeitgeist. Through his work, he aims to challenge and question the structures of vision, presenting an alternative perspective that extends beyond conventional notions of representation.

His compositions incorporate two fundamental elements—flesh and chiasm—derived from the insights of phenomenologist Merleau-Ponty. The intersection of bodies and objects, symbolised by "flesh," prompts individual responses that directly reflect our ideological perceptions. This exploration delves into the complex dynamics between perception and societal frameworks, encouraging viewers to critically reflect on their own preconceived notions and biases. In addition to phenomenology, his practice is deeply rooted in engagement with philosophical texts on power, gender, disidentification and neuroscience, with particular emphasis on the works of Michel Foucault, José Esteban Muñoz, Catherine Malabou, and António Damásio.

At the core of his practice lies a commitment to disrupt and disidentify the viewer’s anticipatory responses. According to the queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz, in order to disidentify, one must “work on, with, and against [the operation of] a cultural form.” In de Carvalho's view, identity and culture should be regarded as a series of loose fragments that resist the conception of power as a dogmatic discourse. By continuously attempting to subvert expectations, he highlights the malleability of perception as a learned and constructed phenomenon, which can be subjected to self-reflection. Through these deliberate disruptions, he prompts viewers to critically examine their own perceptual frameworks and consider the possibility of change and reinterpretation.

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