Gianlluca Carneiro and the artistic education as a collective
How do we learn about art? This somewhat subjective question is addressed by one of the newest artists to join Coletivo Amarelo, Gianlluca Carneiro. The Brazilian artist and teacher is directly involved with citizenship and ethics projects, and within the classroom, he has found ways to introduce his students to politics through art.
Meet Gianlluca Carneiro and his vision about art education
In his portfolio, Gianlluca shares a bit of his story. Born in Minas Gerais, Brazil, the visual artist is also a history teacher at the municipal network of Cariacica, in Espírito Santo. In addition, Gianlluca holds a Bachelor of Laws and studied art and education at CEFART in Belo Horizonte.
From a very early age, more precisely from the age of 6, Gianlluca found himself as an artist through painting. Since then, his career has spanned more than 20 years, taking his art to different exhibitions in Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Espírito Santo. Not to mention publications in nationally and internationally renowned magazines and exhibitions, such as his work “Humor Azul, Coração Azul” which was a finalist at the Doncaster Art Fair.
Gianlluca Carneiro calls his artistic universe "Cabeça Vazia", a play on the popular brazilian saying “an empty head is the devil's workshop”. In his own words: “The important thing is that this empty head is full and busy producing works with colors, strokes and colorful and chaotic compositions always emerging out of criticism of political and social structures and the contemporary way of life”.
The contemporary artist is aligned with the most recent discussions present around the world. One of them is the importance of rethinking the current art education system.
Documenta is one of the largest contemporary art exhibitions in the world and takes place every five years in the city of Kassel, Germany. The exhibition was created in 1955 by Arnold Bode, in post-war Germany. Part of his motivation came from the need to return to the art that was banned by Nazism and to reintroduce the country to the latest international trends. Since then, the Documenta 15 exhibition has become a major institution in the art world.
In 2022, the 15th edition of the exhibition took place, curated by the ruangrupa collective from Jakarta, Indonesia. The collective based their vision for Documenta on the values and ideas of a very common term in Indonesia, lumbung, which means “rice barn” and the communal system adopted in rural areas of Indonesia, where crops are collectively produced and shared as a common resource. The idea of using this term as an artistic and economic model is based on principles such as collectivity, the joint construction of resources and their fair distribution. It's a sustainable system, in which it could be reimagined inside artistic productions through new practices, residencies and collective elaboration of new ideas. As a result, we could potentially redesign the meaning of culture itself.
In this edition, several points resonate and one of them dialogues directly with the art and the active positioning of Gianlluca Carneiro, which is to rethink the structures of contemporary artistic education. In the exhibition, this is translated from the idea of the collective and questions why can't we learn from each other, breaking paradigms, such as the authority figure of the teacher?
This idea of transforming education is expressed in Documenta 15 through the work of *foundationClass, a collective formed in 2016 at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin (KHB). The collective emerged as an educational platform for art and a toolkit created to make life easier for immigrants who are affected by racism in Germany.
In order to delve deeper into this concept of collective artistic education and get to know the artist better, Coletivo Amarelo held an interview with Gianlluca Carneiro. Read an excerpt from our conversation, which we opened with a speech by the artist that unifies all this thinking behind artistic education and this untapped potential.
Gianlluca: "I see a lot of artistic potential among my students that within the school is not so explored and I, as a teacher and artist, try to bring that to them at all times. Bring what? Bring ideas to awaken something in them, demystify this idea that art is only inside a museum, when in fact we make art all the time, and use that to debate politics''.
Coletivo Amarelo: Are there obstacles within the school to introduce these new models? What is the resistance?
Gianlluca: The craziest thing about all of this is that I am part of a project called "Ensina Brasil", aimed at areas of social vulnerability, and by coincidence I ended up in a school where there are military personnel. For a moment I thought this would be a hindrance, but I managed to bring the subject of politics in a deeper way, without superficial speeches and also without partisanship. But doing this using art even makes the process easier within the school, as incredible as it may seem.
Coletivo Amarelo: The figure of the teacher is a place of comfort, of security, where "there are no dumb questions", a less intimidating place… You, as a teacher, what advice would you give to those who want to start making art, learn more about art , but not quite sure where to start or perhaps feeling shy?
Gianlluca: The distance from art sometimes comes from very complex languages, difficult for us to introduce people… I'll give you an example of something that happened to me this week. I had an art competition at school, I stressed that there would be a prize, but that it was not to encourage that aggressive competitiveness, but to stimulate creation.
A special education student of mine, he has a glass eye, low vision, and he won the drawing competition. His smile was something unbelievable. Another student, with very low self-esteem, won the painting contest, and she could never see what she was doing. Always saying that everything she did was shit… This showed me once again that art is what we do in the most genuine way possible.
The way to start is indeed complicated, but today we have so many new forms, collectives like Coletivo Amarelo, alternative proposals, places that receive us more openly and that encourage us to do things. This is for those who are starting to make art, consume, live from it. As banal as it may be, the secret is to throw yourself in full.
Coletivo Amarelo: What you said about having access to so many tools and information nowadays, sometimes it can be a scary thing too. Because maybe it makes people feel lost, not really knowing where to start or having a hard time understanding where they fit into all of this... And we end up forgetting that art making is a time-consuming process, it takes time, a really slow digestion. The artist's process of being stuck there, "waiting for something" to happen, is extremely lonely at times and it can be super confusing.
Gianlluca: It is a process that takes a long time. And we don't do it for a gallery, we do it because it has to be done. I'm a little crazy… I have my sketchbook, my doodles… and the ideas come, the colors, the shapes, and from them I experiment. Most of the time it doesn't get where I want it. There are layers that build up and, I'm not afraid, I don't plan too much, I'm more of an action person.
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