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November 30, 2011

The art of leather: The sculptures of Joao Carvalho

Joao CarvalhoLeather to express body art and hyperrealism. Natural or dyed calfskin takes the form of a sculpture. Neither marble nor stone, but only leather can replace skin to immortalise the beauty of a nude female body. This is the art of Joao Carvalho, a Portuguese tanner who literally transforms his working material into a work of art, by draping the leather to create corporeal sculptures. “My maternal grandfather was a painter – he told us at Linea Pelle where we met him – I learnt oil painting from my mother. My father comes from a long line of tanners and I inherited his passion for leather. I combined the two sides and here I am!” Eternal nude is the title of his first collection, which was presented in 2009 at the National Natural History Museum in Lisbon, and was exhibited in the Linea Pelle hall last year by the tanning company Priante. There are ten leather sculptures in the exhibition, all modelled around the models’ nude bodies, in tan, the natural colour of leather, or bronze or white. Carvalho explained “I record the shape of a body to make it eternal, to exalt its transient nature. It is like an indelible imprint which goes beyond photography, because sculpture manages to show all the grace of the body. Leather has a natural affinity with the body, and comes back to life, giving eternal life to what we are”. Carvalho has followed a combined industrial and artistic journey, researching the materials and developing tanning techniques to reproduce all the movement, vitality, volume and substance of the human body in his artistic creations. The Portuguese artist explained “My sculptures have a marked scientific base, because I tan the leather specifically for the sculptures, then I dye it. My models hold their pose while I model the leather around their body, giving everlasting substance to the essence of the human body.”

One Comment

  1. mk

    I love Joao’s making styles…

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