IKON Birmingham

Ikon Gallery | 1 Oozells Square, Brindleyplace
GB-B1 2HS Birmingham

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artists & participants

press release

Portuguese artists João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva have worked together since 2001, creating objects, installations and short films which they describe as ‘poetic philosophical fiction’. Ikon’s exhibition focuses purely on their short 16mm films, featuring those made recently in Brazil alongside a selection from the last five years.

Gusmão and Paiva’s work reveals a deep curiosity about the nature of reality and embodies a constant dialogue between fact and fiction, humour and poetry. They are infuenced by a wide range of references including historical literature, mythology and the occult, informing their own pseudo-scientifc investigations.

The artists’ films reflect ongoing preoccupations such as vision and blindness, metaphysics, the void and infinity. Works such as The Great Drinking Bout (2007) involve an unidentifed cast of characters who enact anarchic rituals, while other films are unpopulated, often focusing on the nature of objects and materials. In Experiment on the Effluvium (2009) the use of slow-motion creates a dream-like quality. A stone skims across the surface of a body of water in a scene reminiscent of a mythological planetary event. Meanwhile in Astronomy Of The End Of The Boot (2009) a man observes the sky through a hole in his shoe. Against a background of profound thinking Gusmão and Paiva’s carefully crafted films exude a playful inventiveness that makes us look again.

Joao Maria Gusmao and Pedro Paiva
On the Movement of the Fried Egg and Other Astronomical Bodies