My practice is based in photography, video and site specific installations and the multimedia experience of their intersection. My work actively supports systemic social change, influenced by ecofeminism as a cultural form of resistance. I stand by the rebellious aspect of my generation, referencing progressive movements in Bolsonaro's Brazil and exploring my immigrant experience in Trump's U.S.A. I look to BIPOC Women Activists, community leaders and environmental intersectional feminist theories for inspiration and guidance. My work aims to reconcile the beauty of private contemporary relationships, nostalgic memories and dreams of social utopias within the distorted reality I navigate, which in turn becomes my visual narrative.
Carla Maldonado (She/Her) is a multimedia artist, working in photography, video and installation. She earned her MFA in Photography, Video & Related Media, from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York in 2019. Her work has been exhibited, screened and installed across film festivals, art fairs and gallery shows including Thomas Erben Gallery (New York, NY), The Knockdown Center (Brooklyn, NY), Satellite Art Show (Miami and Brooklyn), Film Fest at the Farm (Rhinebeck, New York), Planet Film Festival (Barcelona, Spain), Photo Independent (Los Angeles, CA), Fathom Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) and Nowolipki Gallery (Warsaw, Poland), among others.
Images courtesy the artist.
Interview questions developed by 2020 AIM Curatorial Intern Victoria Sperotto.
Dystopia of a Jungle city and the Human of Nature
Four screen installation with audio
Dystopia of a Jungle city and the Human of Nature (video still)
Single channel audio-visual piece projected on recycled plywood, newsprint and red light.
Q&A with Carla Maldonado
In your opinion, what role does art play in 2020 amidst the events of the past year?
2020 is a year that forces us to look inward. We (artists and those that do not categorize themselves as such) have been questioning power structures that some passively perpetuate. The art world also is built of structures of oppression, white supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy to name a few. The art world in 2020 must change in order to be an ally to the revolution. It must communicate the needs of this generation, instead of perpetuating toxic systems. Art - as in freedom through creative expression - is revolutionary. Art’s role is to convince everyone else that this revolution is not only necessary but urgent.
Has your art, practice, or ways of thinking about art changed focus during the past year?
During the past year I have been introduced to ecofeminism as a social movement, and the ecofeminist analysis confronts everything about western culture that has been oppressive to me, the environment and my indigenous and Black sisters. I have been talking about the need for a revolution in my artistic practice for a while now, though if anything has changed it is the idea that this revolution is possible… there is a lineage of women that can be holding my hand throughout this process.
Your work is based on social, political, environmental and feminist topics. Your unique situation of being between Brazil and the United States is overlapping during a time when leaders of both countries represent such threats to these ideas. With such threats present, how do you prioritize what you represent in your art? How do you make decisions about which country’s situation to focus on more with so much happening?
I can’t choose which topic to prioritize, they all disturb me equally. As an ecofeminist, my work addresses that all (western) systems of oppression are interrelated, I rebel against it. Even when my work is directly targeting Trump, there are direct connections to social, environmental and feminist topics in a singular criticism about who he represents - Brazil is culturaly, economically and socially colonized by the U.S.A. The United States of America’s capitalism is one of the reasons why our Amazonian forest is being intentionally destroyed. Bolsonaro is Trump’s biggest fan… he just seemed to miss the part that Trump despises South Americans.
The day Bolsonaro set the Amazon on fire
Multi-channel video projection on 44 x 63 inch inkjet print on canvas with acrylic paint
Video: 8:00 min
How does representing the struggles of Brazil in a foreign country drive your message forward?
Brazil is culturally, economically and socially colonized by the U.S.A. In a way most Brazilians will look up to/ listen to whatever is being said and done in the United States. NYC allows me to have an artistic practice. NYC is my home and the place I am allowed to speak freely - and am understood. I never had the experience of showing work in Brazil, so I assume this is the place that I have to be, and I believe that the more I address these issues internationally the better.
In your opinion, how does video differ from still images when representing current events in art?
This is an interesting question because I mix videos with still images a lot, and I feel like they are very complimentary and feed off each other through my practice. Some moments I am documenting frozen frames, the same way that I blink my eyes twice to eternalize a memory. I guess the difference is that, with video, looking back at these memories is like traveling back in time. You can create a visual narrative with both, but photographs are more about isolating a moment in time, videos are more like time travelling to an isolated moment.