João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva
14 April–6 June 2010
In their artistic practice the Portuguese artist duo João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva prefer the classic celluloid film to more contemporary expressions. The filmstrip, an invention representing both materiality and magic, corresponds with the physical reality, which is the starting point for the artists’ investigations. It also refers to the zeitgeist of the early film era, when the enthusiasm over developments in science coexisted with an ardent interest in the more metaphysical dimensions of life.
João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva’s short films depict individual and staged episodes in a series of pseudo-scientific experiments with both poetic and humorous implications.
Central to Gusmão and Paiva’s interest is a fascination with that which eludes comprehension and undermines the rational, logos. A scientific perspective is combined with an understanding of the impossibility of absolute knowledge. Their films rather evoke the unstable and ambivalent, the transitory states and the indiscernible which briefly appears when perception is challenged.
João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva live and work in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2009 they represented Portugal at the Venice Biennale.
Thanks to Instituto Camões, Portugal and Filmform, Stockholm.
“In a completely darkened room, the Portuguese artist duo João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva are now showing some of their most surreal 16 mm films. Entering the exhibition is like entering Plato’s cave. To be voluntarily seduced. Here you can observe obscure figures that wander through rugged landscapes or engage in such bizarre things as eating stones or trying to break giant rocks. /…/ It is of course possible to draw connections to both land art, slow art and the romanticization of nature that is characteristic of our time. But the artist duo seems to be trying to create their own cosmology, a kind of magical materialism that mock both the laws of optics and matter, not to mention the critic’s wish for classification.”
Translated quote from DN, 2010-05-12, Sinziana Ravini. Read full text in Swedish.