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Rafael Abreu-Canedo



Currently, I operate as an artist by organizing systems and parameters to create intimate and visceral encounters between viewers and the unexpected, the hidden, the distant and/or the invisible. Whether inviting people to an event where everyone is hearing each other's actual heartbeats, in real-time as they socialize, or turning away from the sporting spectacle to capture the negative space of devotion and extacy that surrounds these types of communions, usually reserved for religious rituals, I am interested in capturing or activating subtle, sometimes unrecognized social relations. In my work, I strive to give a "voice" or "body" to the myriad of invisible relations that are always present, but floating silently just beyond the thoughts surrounding us.   To make visible that which is usually invisible can produce a change of position, opening one's "self" up to potential relations, materials and possibilities that as of yet have had no pertinent moral, aesthetic or historical value. The invisible or unheard, is anything or anyone that does not easily fit within a given ideology--marginalized into darkness, condemned to oblivion and rendered mute. It is the sounding of this muteness that I strive to make heard in my work.


Moving to Pittsburgh from Brasil, I attended Pittsburgh’s CAPA High School, where I develop my first body of work at the age of 16, resulting in my first solo show in New York City’s Jadite Gallery. My work took me to the San Francisco Art Institute, where I graduated with a BFA in New Genres. After working with Bay Area Conceptualists such as Terry Fox, Howard Fried, Doug Hall and Tom Marioni, to name a few, I began question the formalism of established languages and my actions pervaded the social space. After many years in San Francisco and New York, I moved back to Pittsburgh to pursuit an MFA at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Art. Currently I’m interested in human emotions and expressions as they relate to vulnerability and identity, in various forms. I've exhibited and taught throughout the US and internationally, since 2001, at the age of 16. Since then, I have worked with organizations such as Creative Capital, PFPCA, Franklin Furnace, Queens Museum of Art (New New Yorkers), Sprout Fund, Root Division, Oakland Unified School District, New York Department of Education, and Pittsburgh Public Schools, developing a commitment to communication through the arts; changing the future by working for a better today.