Marcelo Fontana

March 6 - March 21, 2021

Open Hours

Fri-Sun 12-5pm by appointment

to schedule a visit

Exhibition Statement

By exploring the Umwelten of other organisms we add to our own a host of different worlds; and the richness of our own world will increase in immeasurable ways.
J. von Uexküll

Umwelt is an allegory about our society, time, and perception. The works presented reflect on our interpersonal relationships and how understanding the reality of others can help us navigate our own reality. To make this experience tangible, Umwelt creates an analogy with one of the most resilient animals on earth, oysters.

An oyster is a living memory, a portrait of everything that happened during an existence. Just like humans, it is a statement on how time affects their lives, but its biggest difference lies in being a testimony of a specific place and everything that happened around it.

For humans, life at its core comes down to using natural resources to evolve. The oyster goes the opposite direction, existing in a limbo between life and death, filtering the oceans and rivers in search of resources.

The life of oysters can be related to the way we live our lives today; inside our bubbles and shells, protected from everything and everyone. Sending signals only to our peers and shaping reality to make life more bearable.

But are our behaviors shaped by our society or biological characteristics? In times when we do not know what is real or not, where different worlds are presented to us simultaneously and where the construction of the self-image is the amalgamation of our society, I wonder if we can still create genuine relationships with those who exist differently from us. Can we still be sensitive and supportive?

Umwelt addresses these questions, creating a time to stop and reflect on our existence, our current moment, our challenges, and grief.


Marcelo Fontana is an artist, designer and organizer from São Paulo, Brazil. His work is based on paving ways to understand the importance of images in our lives. Providing a new function for images and objects that are immersed in a “waiting state” his goal is to make tangible what we can’t see. BFA in Photography (Senac-Brazil) with continuing education at the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo. Fontana is one of the organizers of the group WAVE. Has worked as an assistant for the artist Shirley Paes Leme, was part of the artist incubator Prequel and Atelier Fidalga. Made shows in Brazil, Japan, Korea, USA and residencies at the PNCA Leland Iron Works, WeWork and the Museum of Art and Sound.


© Carnation Contemporary
photo credit: Simon Boas
photo editor: Renee Couture

8371 N Interstate Ave
Portland, OR 97217

Open Hours
12-5 Saturday-Sunday

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