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11 Apr 2014

Monarch Army - Temporary Occupation at Artur Fidalgo Gallery, Rio de Janeiro

Monarch Charger Plate 4
polychrome glazed hand painted faience
2013 | 31 cm (d)
photo: Fábio Carvalho

Monarch Army - Temporary Occupation
Artur Fidalgo Gallery


opening: 9th april - 7 P.M. utill: 30th april monday/saturday, from 10 A.M. to 7 P.M.

Rafael Leal
+5521 2549-6278

Artur Fidalgo Gallery
R. Siqueira Campos 143 2° piso 147/150
Copacabana - Rio de Janeiro

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Eight hand-painted faience charger plates, created by Fabio Carvalho during an artist residency in Portugal last year, will now be presented in a solo exhibition at the Artur Fidalgo gallery.

By the end of 2013, Fábio Carvalho participated in an Artist Residency at OF Ceramics, a small ceramic workshop in Portugal. In this residency, Fabio Carvalho's fourth artist residency in Portugal, the artist explored the traditional Portuguese method of faience painting with the use of stencils, a technique emerged in the nineteenth century, and long abandoned by the industry. The OF Ceramics is one of the rare ceramics that preserves this technique.

The artist, thinking about the traditional Portuguese faience plates with human figuration, which often represent kings, nobles, historical figures and national heroes, created an original design of a soldier in camouflage uniform with butterfly wings on his back.
Then, Fabio Carvalho created variations of this design, producing a total of eight pieces. The plates were supplemented with painted rims, with traditional patterns of Portuguese faience. The chosen patterns for the rims, although always being floral representations, also suggested barbed wire, or other elements used in the trenches.

The use of the monarch butterfly on some of Fabio Carvalho's works goes far beyond the simple fact that butterflies are usually associated with the feminine, fragile and delicate universe, as opposed to other symbols usually accepted as belonging to the male gender, which both combined composes the main dialectic of his artistic production , which seeks to raise a discussion on gender stereotypes, and to question the common sense that strength and fragility, poetry and virility, masculinity and vulnerability cannot coexist .

The specific use of the monarch butterfly, and not any butterfly, emerged as a counterpoint to the camo military uniform. The monarch butterflies are poisonous, and so avoided by predators. But there are other species of non-poisonous butterflies that mimic the colorful and lush pattern of the monarch butterfly, with obvious benefit to the 'imitators', which are also avoided by predators.

With camouflage, one wants to blend against the environment , so it won't be seen. With mimicry what happens is the opposite, it's purpose is to drawn attention, pretending to be what it isn't. But both are equally protective and survival strategies, which aim to confuse and deceive.