press release

Pedro Paiva (Lisbon, 1977) and João Maria Gusmão (Lisbon, 1979) have exhibited jointly since 2001 in a collaboration that dates back to their days at the University of Lisbon's Department of Fine Arts where they both studied painting. Their work together currently consists of creating and producing art, curating exhibitions and writing books on art theory. They were recently awarded Portugal's Prémio EDP Novos Artistas for young and upcoming artists, which has generated public interest in a body of work which Pedro Lapa, director of the Museu do Chiado - MNAC, has described as "surprising, mature, has its own very substantial discourse and reveals a flexible approach in its handling of various media".

Their first joint work to be shown was an installation (untitled, 2001), which was displayed at the InMemory exhibition, curated by Pedro Paiva, in 2001 at Galeria Zé dos Bois. The following year, the two embarked on a project which they conceived and produced themselves entitled DeParamnésia . This project, which they produced as resident artists at Tercenas do Marquês (Associação Zé dos Bois), was realised via a work of theoretical reflection and formal experimentation conducted behind closed doors, interspersed with three public exhibitions (D eParamnésia parte 1, 2 e 3), in which they displayed not only their own work, but also work by artists such as Philippe Meste, João Tabarra and Alexandre Estrela. The two artists hoped in that way to expand the results of the project beyond the pure realisation of works of art (the most obvious result) to incorporate the curatorial insight and the exhibition of other artists' work.

Intrusão: the Red Square , the title of the Museu do Chiado - MNAC exhibition, the first by João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva to be held in a public museum, is spread across various areas of the building and consists of several photographic works (a 60 mm slide projection and large format prints), a double video projection and two 16 mm films.

The work of João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva has employed a diverse range of media, though the use of film and photography has been recurrent. The situations constructed with characters and elements, which at times transfer from one work to another, do not suggest a narrative that assumes the development of a situation in a time lapse. The humour demonstrated by each one of these intriguing and inconsequential situations stems from a 'non-sense' that influences their work, marked by the obsolete choreography and practices from the silent films of cinema's early age. In restoring this obsolesence, João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva enable possibilities that seen from another age are brought up to date by its return to usage. What may seem like an experiment submitted to an order of understanding, reveals itself as the occurring, irreducible to any prior or consequential sense. Yet, to the more observant, this nihilism is not restrained by its negativity; a transmutation takes place and the will as affirmation becomes the justification for the actions produced by each one of these works. Therefore, each one constitutes the instant and its relationship with itself, which determines the relationship with other instants and assumes itself as unconditionally affirmative.

With the artistic context so thoroughly dominated by works of grief and sorrow, are we capable of discovering in laughter and play an act of will and aesthetic affirmation? That is what João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva invite us to do.

Pedro Lapa Pressetext

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Pedro Paiva and Joao Maria Gusmao
Intrusao: the Red Square