Isabel Carvalho

Porto, 1977
Lives and works in Porto

The artist develops her work between visual arts and writing, focusing on language and its creative and transformative potential. Her work includes drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and performance, but also literature, book publishing, magazines, blogs, websites, posters and artist publications. Breaking down boundaries between high and popular culture, she embraces ideas of amateurism, authorial expropriation, encounter, exchange and collaboration, sometimes fictionalising these through the use of heteronyms such as Clara Batalha.

Carvalho relies on the daily recording of banal events, word games and anagrams. She explores language as a cultural construction, remaining particularly attentive to non-verbal communication, desire and eroticism in female and queer identities in relation to the other, to ecology, to the economy and to politics.

Self-management forms part of Isabel Carvalho’s practice of continuous intervention in the creation of independent territories, especially in and from the city of Porto in Portugal. This activity includes self-publishing, management and programming of exhibition spaces, the organisation of residences and community kitchens, the holding of music and spoken word concerts, and the creation and maintenance of digital platforms, among other poetic and concrete actions.

Lígia Afonso
[Plano Nacional das Artes and Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian]
Curator, teacher and researcher born in Lisbon in 1981
Text originally written for Google Arts & Culture apropos the exhibition “All I Want, Portuguese Women Artists from 1900 to 2020”, curated by Helena de Freitas and Bruno Marchand