Joana P. Cardozo – Artist Interview

Joana P. Cardozo – Artist Interview


My name is Joanna. I was born in São Paolo, Brazil. I came to New York to work for a year for this big law firm, and then I had to go back. But I fell in love with the city, and I was already taking courses at ICP, which was right across from the street from the law firm. But I
was already taking courses in São Paulo as well. After working for so many years,
I decided just to take a sabbatical. Like, “why not? I can be in New York for one more year studying photography… …and then I’ll go back and resume my activities.” But I didn’t. Well, I think like every photographer… you start with street photography, so that’s what I was doing in São Paulo–street photography–and New York is
the place for street photography. So that’s what I started doing in New York as well, and then I took a class with Harvey Stein at ICP. With street photography, you try to tell the story in one single frame… But what I wanted
to do is not to just capture a moment or document a moment, but create a moment. Make photographs instead of taking the photograph. That’s
why I think I came from the outside to the inside, so I could have control over what I was doing. And I started working with projections, and I wanted to create an illusion. So what I was doing was I would take a picture of a kitchen and then I would project that picture in another kitchen to create an
illusion. So you would see two different kitchens but you didn’t know which space
was real, and which space was not real. I started to notice the harsh, the very
well defined shadows that a projector light would create. So in one of those
sessions I stopped doing what I was doing and just started to photograph all
the shadows in my apartments. So I picked objects and created shadows and only photographed the shadows. That’s when the Blueprints started. Because I have pictures, like polaroids, of all the shadows in my apartment, of the objects of my
apartment, but they didn’t make sense separate. I needed to link them somehow and that’s where the floor plan came. Because the link between those objects was the apartment. It is pretty much like playing with the photo album of my family albums in my childhood. I was always rearranging the family album, always. It was something I liked to do. But I had a physical space that I was placing images here and there and creating stories in my mind and trying to translate the stories in the photo album. But now what I was doing it’s the same — curating images and
placing them within the lines and trying to tell the story in a collage
way. I use like 80 different images to tell one thing. Shadow is the absence of light, so the object is blocking the light from the surface, and the reason I do
that comes back to the explanation… that I want you to have a feeling what it feels like to be in that space. Not to see what it looks like. For
example, I don’t know, a coffee maker. You will see in my images, if somebody has the Bialetti, the Italian coffee maker, I’m going to use that because I have that and it’s an object with an interesting design. So I’m interested in why all the homes have this coffee maker now. I want to tell how we’re different but how we’re all the same, too. The key point for the Blueprints is that, to me, they are portraits. You’re not seeing a face, you’re not seeing the likeness of the person or a family, but
they are portraits through their objects. The way I work… there’s
no beginning and end so because I was working with projections that came to
the Blueprints, and then the Blueprints came to another work that’s collage or
cutout. So I was starting to cut the shadows and scan them and reusing the
materials. So reusing what I was already working with. So from that, I created what
I call the ‘cutout’ works, “Recortes” in Portuguese. And I print a shadow, each shadow, and now it doesn’t matter where it came from. It’s
not related to a person anymore so I use the shadows of all the houses or
whatever. And I just cut the shadow and I put it
in a scan and I scan them. Sometimes I use the shadow, sometimes I used the leftover paper to create something else. So when I was going to homes
photographing the Blueprints, I always noticed a flower, a cut flower, in the house and I love flowers. They’re pretty, poetic. So I was always taking shadows of the flowers. Actually the very first shadow I did was a tulip in my house. And then I started to think about how
shadows and flowers are ephemeral. They don’t last. And I wanted to give a
permanence to the shadow and the flower and that’s how the ‘Plastic Flowers Don’t Die’ series started. And what I’m doing now is basically taking photographs of shadows of cut flowers, and translating them and laser cutting them onto black acrylic. So it’s basically a shadow that doesn’t need a light source anymore to
exist, and it’s a flower that’s not gonna die anymore. To me, you can say that ‘Plastic Flowers’… Some might say this is not photography, but to me it is photography. It’s just that the medium I’m using to show it… …it’s acrylic, it’s plastic, but it
all started with a photograph. And the photograph… it’s still there even though you’re not seeing it anymore. And I think there’s space for me to do
that now, in photography, that probably a few years ago I couldn’t do.

Dereck Turner

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