London, England / Lisboa, Portugal
This week's Next Up artist is Henrique Paris, a truly eyeopening artist. Henrique explores multiple mediums of art and concepts in order for the audience to contemplate. See for yourself below:
Let's start by talking about yourself, as in what you do, who you are, etc.
I'm Angolan and from Portugal. I'm a fine artist and through my work, I attract questions or I invite people to define concepts. On top of everything, I'm a thinker and I use mediums to explore concepts.
What mediums do you specifically focus on? I would say I'm multidisciplinary. Literally depending on my aim or what the purpose is with a project, the purpose will then dictate the medium I go with. For example, for my previous installation, I used photography and sounds. The reason being was because I was focused on documenting the youth so that was the most appropriate medium. It would allow the audience to view faces because that was the theme. In other projects, I've used video and in some, painting.
So let's get into your most recent installation, "Return of the Repressed", what is it about, etc.:
I'm pretty much portraying the Generation Z as a return. I'm making an analogy with our ancestry and the most recent generation. I try to look at some of the issues and dilemmas we exclusively have to deal with as a generation and most particularly looking at colonialism and how the interconnections of things that still remain the same. These are things we precisely, I think us in particular, are able to see. Other generations aren’t as aware as we are. I wanted to spotlight these dilemmas through the installation. I used photography pieces of young people and each image speaks on different topics and issues to give a feeling of subjectivity. The installation as a whole celebrates black subjectivity so it's speaking against objectification. I feel narrative is very important. The black experience is often misunderstood to be based on a singular narrative. There are many dilemmas within the experience and it's important not to generalize.
Because of our experience in the world, we can't only be one thing. I feel like the media imposes superficial identities onto us suggesting we should only occupy those roles. We should all accept that we can be many things. I'm many manifestations in one.
You combined multiple forms of media in the installation. So how did it go about since there was sound added to it also?
I made a very precise playlist. Before I made the playlist, I had to know what atmosphere I wanted to bring. It felt like the songs came to me so I wasn't putting random songs together. It was more like what songs in particular releases that vibe. In the end, there were 46 songs. All of these songs feel the same as the photographs as well. All of these artists were a high influence on our generation. Not only are these people able to release the vibe but they also influence the way we move. The trace they release I would say is very rebellious and laidback. And I think both of those concepts reflect on our generation.
What pushed you to become an artist? How did it start?
It's funny because growing up I've always been into visual arts. When I had a flip flop phone, I used to just play with it, do videos, I used to just experiment with it. I've always been fascinated by photography but I never had a camera or anything like that. When I got my first 35mm film camera, I was 17 and that's when I started doing photography. I enjoyed photography but it wasn't the only thing. I realized that I wanted to play around with other stuff. I studied art and design in college. I was in the same classroom with fashion and architecture students. It was mainly about what you wanted to explore. I naturally found myself using different mediums. I didn't choose to be multidisciplinary. You just find yourself playing with other stuff. I feel like in the future I'll work with sounds more. I don't have the equipment to start but I feel like if I had the equipment, I would be very consistent with it. "Return of the Repressed" made me realize that sound was for me.
Anything new that you're currently working on (that you're able to discuss)?
Well, there's a video I'm working on. It'll be like a film inspired by "Home is Where the Body Isn't" because I talk about the process of articulation but more so the body as a medium to articulate. That's me talking about dance. When you freestyle, you're letting your consciousness speak. I'm very much interested in the art of dancing.
Lastly: what are you currently listening to?
I will be real with you, I'm taking a break from music. It's been almost a week but I can tell you the last thing I heard was Jorge Ben's ‘Samba Esquema Novo.'
Don't forget to check out Henrique Paris on Instagram!
Artwork by Henrique Paris.
Interview by Dreina Bautista.