by Javier Melian - Chrom-Art.org co-founder
Emanuel de Sousa's figurative art is far from decorative. His pieces are statements of unlikely regal presence. His subjects command the centre of your attention. This everyday Venuses and Adonises will poke your sensibility to provoke you, and they will get to you. Large formats, bold colour, strong brush strokes... De Sousa is a Trojan horse that will delete and replace your idea of aesthetics. Prepare to be poisoned, corrupted by this villain, forced to accept and adore his alternative paradigm of beauty
"Our everyday life routines as we perceive them might sometimes be considered mundane, normal, repetitive and maybe boring, or just go by unnoticed, unworthy of any second thought... yet we underestimate the aesthetic potential and richness of the idiosyncrasies that give structure to our day-to-day life."
- Emanuel de Sousa
The Memory ...
"You cannot immediately put a given action in time and space, but we got an imaginary viewing of it, a kind of "pré já vu". Places, names, temperatures, smells, colours, shapes, sounds, lights, environment, landscapes, feelings and all possible associations between all these items that are difficult to specify. Memory resembles a lake reflections than actually a well-ordered library of files."
- Emanuel de Sousa
"Not long ago asked me if I was fetishist or particularly liked fat women ... for those who followed my painting, you know what I mean, who has not kept up, have some painting series where I explore body language of a fat woman ... to which purpose?
I understand that the body is more than what is shown, it is also what we do it and with him and for him. Somehow, regardless of our volume status, we seductive capabilities as equivalent to repellents, or think according to our behaviour and attitude can unbalancing the equilibrium of balance of attraction / repulsion physical (but actually is just mental).
All textures, tones, colours, shadows, volumes, perspectives have a specific interest in the treatment of body ... it can take you on a journey between "don't you dare to paint my portrait" to the "it means everything to me that you paint me"..."
- Emanuel de Sousa
De Sousa born in Madeira Island, Portugal in 1977, attended the Fine Arts Course in the Instituto Superior de Arte e Design in Madeira University, from 1995 to 1998.
He transferred his academic studies the latter year to the Faculdade de Belas Artes in Porto University, (FBAUP) in Portugal. He has a Degree in Fine Arts – Painting, from FBAUP and is represented in Portugal by Jorge Shirley Gallery. He lives and works in London, UK.
Is there a message in your art?
Hopefully more than one message. I like to believe that my art provokes more than explains; I try to approach my themes from various moods and situations, striving to elaborate on a complex human behaviour, highlighting the importance of the social group and its intertwined relations.
I like to explore the social/psychological interactions by setting up narratives that elaborate on the behaviour of its characters. From the technical/expressive point of view, I believe that the materials have a voice of their own, they play an important part on the composition, vibrating and having personality, giving a lot more character that just "illustrating" a concept.
What is your favourite place to live and paint?
My favourite place to paint and live... Geographically speaking, London, but more specifically, in my flat/studio. I have the need to feel the development of my work even during the mute hours of the night... High allows me to, let's say, at any given time, to approach my work and keep on working, evolving within the concept and expression.
If you could be in a group exhibition with other artists, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
Well, first and foremost, I would choose
Paula Rego: we are both from the same country and to see two different generations working on human behaviour from the same or similar background could be very interesting;
Lucian Freud: well, again, the human, this time in the flesh tones, the thick hard brush strokes...
Tai Shan Schieremberg: amazing artist that also works with the thickness of paint and amazing expression and passion.
Eric Fischl: from this artist I think the narrative and development of a story line involving the psyche of human behaviour.
What do you think there is too little of in the Arts today?
Emotion and meaningful purpose. I think we have a social responsibility that is not being met at the moment. Art should be a symptom of what's going on in the world. On the technical/academic aspect, not enough investment on the art students: they are led to believe in a fantasy, not knowing the demands of the world after university, not interested in the "old values" like human figure drawing, painting, studying the old masters, building a solid technical base in order to break the rules in the future.
What do you think there is too much off in the Arts today?
Pressure, on social media (Facebook likes, Instagram likes and what not), pressure to succeed very early in the career, too much "self" and self-absorption, conceptually climbing to ridiculous
extremes... There's more but...
Your work usually focuses in the human body and actions. However when you approached 'ID' you painted apes! What drove you to it?
The identity is variable, we humans relate to our genetic cousins, and therefore I tried to provoke a reaction by exploring the primordial behaviour in all animals, portrayed through one of the most secular forms of visual expression, giving the same weight and importance to register the faces of these apes as we do to humans... After all, we are all part of the same natural reality.
We share 99% go the primate genetic code and I found very fitting to explore this concept. All we are, emotionally, we get it from a deep, sometimes uncontrollable source that feels primitive. Anger, fear, desire, hunger, sex drive, similar to the genetic code, we share them with these apes.
What plans have you got in the near future?
For the near future I'm preparing my first solo show in London, themed "one of many expressions" where I develop the reactions I have while working. This is a series of self-portraits where I'm
exploring my physical involvement while painting.
Where can we buy your art?
At the moment I'm seeking for a gallery representation in London, but I'm taking my time in order to find the right fit. I also work with a Lisbon art gallery: Jorge Shirley art gallery. But you can get in touch with me thru my personal contacts: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mobile 07530945209. You can also check my work on Instagram: @emanuelartist or my website: www.emanueldesousa.com