Working in collaboration since 2001, their research driven practice is best understood as a literary and poetic investigation of metaphysical concerns, combining moving image, installation, sculpture, and photography. Creating objects and scenarios that are equally cinematic, comedic and enigmatic, together their works defy the rational and the narrative, challenging the traditional systems of building knowledge.
For their first solo exhibition in New York, Gusmão + Paiva have created 2 exhibitions within one. Encompassing the majority of the gallery will be an immersive, architectural installation housing new films recently shot in Lisbon, which are united by a descriptive exploration of the nature of time. Decelerating footage of the realm of domestic and biological objects, ornithology, science fiction, AC electric current, thaumaturgy, fake and real garbage, household appliances, socks, hardware and mirrors, the artists propose something similar to a common sense riddle:
“A guy is stranded in an elevator. Suddenly there’s power shortage and the lights are off, luckily he brought along his pet goldfish to keep him company. When he fondles Nemo (that’s the guy’s fish name), placing, in total darkness, his hand inside the fishbowl, he feels his object of affection covered in feathers. Oops, lights are back, Nemo has scales. Oops, lights are off, feathers again.
When is the best time to eat Nemo?”
The films included in the show aim at reconstructing the experience of time from an unnatural state, opening the objects depicted to a paradoxical allegory – an anthropomorphic worldview is created on top of an otherwise extra-terrestrial frontier.
Presented alongside the film installation will be Another B&W Ghost Show, comprised of a suite of silver gelatin photographs of what appears to be a sculpture studio. Models for fictitious exhibitions, seen mostly in close up, perform as a material imagination of shapes yet to be; the silver ghost of the sculptures they supposedly represent.
Together, the exhibitions enact a tension between still and moving image, and their abilities to both depict the actual world, as well as to suggest the magic that lies beyond it.
Past solo exhibitions of their work include Lua Cao (with Alexandre Estrela), Kunstverein Munchen, Munich, 2018, João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva: Peacock, Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2017, The Sleeping Eskimo, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland, 2016, The Missing Hippopotamus, Kkv Kolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, 2015, Papagaio, HangarBicocca, Milan, 2014; travelled to Camden Arts Centre, London, 2015, and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2015, One month without filming, REDCAT, Los Angeles, 2015, and Passengers 1.7, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, 2008. In 2009, Gusmão and Paiva represented Portugal at the 53rd Venice Biennale. Additionally, their work was included the The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, the International Art Exhibition at the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013, the 8th Gwangju Biennale, 2010, Manifesta 7, 2008, the 6th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, 2007, and the 27th Bienal de Sao Paulo, 2006.