FERNANDA GALVÃO’S DYSTOPIAN LANDSCAPES
FOUNDRY SEOUL presented São Paulo-based emerging artist Fernanda Galvão in her first solo exhibition in Asia Oyster Dream.
With nineteen new paintings and a video installation expanded for the exhibition space, Oyster Dream offers an opportunity to survey Galvão’s artistic practice through which the artist observes microscopic units of nature and the human body, such as cells and tissues that create the landscapes of dystopian future ecosystem. These are created with her imagination based on the study of sci-fi literature and cinematography.
Fernanda Galvão’s work begins with her observations of nature and the body. She has long been interested in biology with her personal experience in the subject. The artist looks deeply into gardens, plant photos, and the wild ecosystem she encounters on hikes in the woods or desert. She also examines the human body with images of histological studies online or illustrations in anatomy textbooks. The observations at different scales enrich the artist’s investigation. She expands her view into worlds that are invisible to the naked eye, such as cell tissues under a microscope or the inside of the human body on an X-ray. In that, she discovers a clue that will explode into a vast imaginary universe.
From her collection of diverse images, she extracts certain parts that are of particular interest to her. She develops them into a ‘pictorial biome’ that constitutes an otherworldly ecosystem. Science fictional imagination plays a central role in this process.
In 2020, the artist started developing an interest in sensory impressions she receives from nature and the corresponding bodily gestures. Her canvases feature a recurring set of shapes and gestures that she calls ‘gesture alphabets.’ These ‘alphabets’ come in different shapes: thick curves meandering through the atmosphere and the surface of the earth; short, powerful diagonals seemingly scraping the surface, among others. As such, they deliver the atmosphere of certain moments, which cannot be translated into a concrete language or shape. This technique is reminiscent of Surrealist and Expressionism initiatives that sought to capture unconscious dimensions and evoke the subjectivity of painting.
Fernanda Galvão’s paintings largely consist of two different categories. Her large-scale paintings offer a wide-angle view of the vast terrains and vigorous ecosystems of the futuristic world she has created and immerse the viewers. Meanwhile, the medium-sized paintings, which feature close-ups of her unique ‘pictorial biome,’ provide a closer look at the strange yet exotic appearances of creatures that make up the new world. The spatial boundaries between reality and the imaginary world are blurred in the exhibition space. It works as a connecting path to the future world imagined by the artist.
Fernanda Galvão compares her artistic practice to the work of a gardener. Just as a gardener tends a garden by planting seeds and trimming plants, the artist translates her observations into visual symbols, drawing them on the canvas, erasing them, and stacking them on top of each other again. Gradually, it emerges through these creations the artist’s own science fictional and futuristic world, which operates on principles entirely different from common sense and physical laws of our world. This new spacetime is a dystopian world devoid of humans, but it is also a dynamic world filled with the energy of mysterious creatures of the artist’s imagination. Fernanda Galvão’s landscapes connect microscopic worlds and the vast universe, taking us to a fascinating future where tranquility and chaos, birth and death, hot and cold, elegance and wildness, and the real and the surreal coexist.