Camila Carella

Editor : Est-Nord-Est
Location : Sain-Jean-Port-Joli
Year : 2023
Language : French / English
Author : Julia Eilers Smith

Artist and author

Camila Carella

Argentine painter Camila Carella has long been fascinated by the strong hold that images can exert – their ability to engulf or subdue, elicit ecstatic sensations, and even transcend reality. Guided by her profound interest in mythology and religions, particularly Tantra, she makes artworks that feature ornate compositions embedded with symbols. Reminiscent of altarpieces or reliquaries and infused with a surreal and mystical energy, they inspire both reverence and curiosity. Amidst her captivation with the otherworldly essence encapsulated by these objects and symbols, Carella remains skeptical about their potential to evoke feelings of devotion and veneration.

Carella’s paintings often derive from visions that manifest in her dreams. During her residency at Est-Nord-Est, one of her works took shape from the striking image she saw in a dream – a fountain gushing red water. Constructed like a mosaic, with each tessellation meticulously reproduced, the piece centres the fountain and its crimson spills. Surrounding it are depictions of bodies on the ground, bitten by canine creatures. Arranged in square vignettes around this scene are illustrations suggesting pain or connection: knots, chain-links, interactions between aggressors and victims, human and non-human, often explicitly violent or sexual. The overall composition conveys the irrational and disquieting tone of a nightmare.

Illustrations of hands and interlacing patterns recur in other works created during Carella’s residency. In one piece, she replicates stained glass on the surface, framed by a series of eight-pointed yellow stars, behind which she depicts two hands holding forearms in a protective manner. The nature of the hand-fold remains ambiguous, teetering between offering support and physically restraining, dominance and submission.

In another of her creations, she imparts spiritual agency into objects, drawing on her interest in animism. Hand-shadows take on a life of their own, clocks morph into floating eyes shedding tears, and a large waxing crescent moon adorns the foreground. In her recent works, Carella has employed an array of compositional techniques, accentuating painting as a portal to the depths of the unconscious mind.