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The Era of Involuntary Memory

A project that examines distinct memory representations of the colonial empires of Portugal and Germany and how they have been modulating their citizens autobiographical and collective memories. Carvalho prints pictures of Portuguese historical tiles and XVI and XVII century animal hunt paintings on found pictures of Portuguese and German anonymous peoples. The result is a distortion of their identities - a metaphor on how official narratives shape one's economy of remembrance.

Carvalho visits regularly flee markets, second hand shops and private photo collections in Lisbon and Berlin, from which he collects portraits of anonymous people – people that represent both countries. In a second stage of this work, the artist print (inkjet print) a new layer of paint on the surface of the found pictures. On the pictures Carvalho finds in Portugal, he prints a layer of traditional Portuguese tiles. These tiles portrait an hegemonic colonial history of Portugal which carves an idea of a romantic colonial past, manipulates individual memories and therefore robs the identity of Portuguese citizens. The photos become a metaphor about the ways national narratives manipulates and highjacks people’s autobiographical memories.


On the pictures Carvalho finds in Germany, he print layers of 16th and 17th centuries paintings of hunts. The idea is to surface a trauma located in the peoples colonized by Germans. Although Germany carries the trauma of a dark past created by Nazi Regime, on the other hand, in relation to their colonial past in Africa the national collective memories have been erased. By printing this paitings on the faces of anonymous German people he wants to bring the idea of monster, mostrare, to make it visible, to make visible a trauma that is located in the other side of the world.

Portuguese Tiles printed on anonymous Portuguese people.

Pictures found in Portugal

Hunt paintings printed on anonymous German people

Pictures found in Germany

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