June 25, 2014 - HangarBicocca - João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva
June 25, 2014

João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva

João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva, Falling Trees (still), 2014. 16mm film, colour, no sound, 8:55 minutes. Produced by Fondazione HangarBicocca, Milan. Courtesy the artists, Fondazione HangarBicocca, Milan and Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo; Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon; Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf; and ZERO…, Milan.

João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva

12 June–26 October 2014

Pirelli HangarBicocca 
Via Chiese 2
Hours: Thursday–Sunday 11am–11pm
Free admission

T +39 02 6611 1573
info [​at​] hangarbicocca.org


Pirelli HangarBicocca presents Papagaio, an exhibition curated by Vicente Todolí and devoted to João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, the artistic duo that have come to the fore during the past decade for their ability to use the language of cinema in a totally new way. The retrospective includes 36 films, of which ten are new productions, and three Camera Obscura installations, including one never seen before, that together form a veritable kaleidoscope of images, a “poetic-philosophical” narrative as the artists themselves call it.

The exhibition appears to the public as a giant installation which contains the cinematic creations of these two artists, with works made between 2004 and 2014, grouped together by the themes and conceptual structures of their research. Viewers are also invited to move freely around the space, to give them a dynamic experience, letting them find points of view that are always different, because perceptions change with shifts in perspective.

The new works created specially for Pirelli HangarBicocca include a small cinema in which a new film, Papagaio (2014), is screened. The film, which is over 40 minutes long (an unprecedented length for the artists, who have so far only made shorts), was shot in the archipelago of São Tomé and Princípe, a former Portuguese colony in the Gulf of Guinea, during an animist ceremony that recalls the voodoo practices of tribes along the coast of West Africa. The event, which is filmed in its entirety, in some cases by the protagonists themselves, includes dances and banquets, and culminates in a state of collective trance in which, according to animistic beliefs, bodies are possessed by the spirits of the dead. The film gives an indication of the artists’ long research in former Portuguese colonies, which are well suited for approaching and understanding experiences and images that have not yet entered the codes of representation and conduct that are typical of Western culture. The artists’ works contain no explicit moralistic interpretations of colonialism, but the very representation of these contexts clearly points to the symbolic violence of colonialism.

The Papagaio exhibition by João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva is part of the artistic programme curated by Vicente Todolí together with Andrea Lissoni. The show is presented in conjunction with the exhibitions by Cildo Meireles, on show until 20 July, and Joan Jonas (2 October 2014–1 February 2015. Opening 1  October, 7pm). Light Time Tales, curated by Andrea Lissoni, will be the first major solo exhibition by Joan Jonas in an Italian institution, presenting many of her most important installations and videos, together with a  performance.

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João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva at Pirelli HangarBicocca
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