Sunday, 6 December 2009

experiments and observations on different kinds of air**

The forthcoming exhibition at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham of the work of João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva should be worth seeing. I was hugely impressed by them in Venice earlier in the year in their show experiments and observations on different kinds of air. In amongst the usual lagoon of mediocrity that can be found in Venice, João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva in the Portugese Pavillion showed a series of short silent 16mm & 35mm films that held the viewer with a quiet beauty and poetry not found anywhere else in the national pavillions this year.

(Their films are) "the study of singular phenomena in an effort to understand the world, the affection of a scientific methodology, and the understanding of poetry as a possible means of capturing an only partially discernable world...

João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva.
3 Suns, 2009, 16mm film, colour, no sound, 0’50’’

...Through their films and experiments, João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva also invoke this hypothesis of other metaphysical abysms with a rather particular sense of humour. Recognising the failure of approximations of the real, they unpeel scientific absurdities to trace new laws in poetry. An adventure in "pataphysics" that presents what may be considered the greatest of all failures: the failure of the ego and its imprisonment, the impossibility of direct access to truth and a mocking and hallucinatory search, whose end is perceivably unreachable." (Natxo Checa)

**A title drawing on the work of the British chemist, physicist and theologian Joseph Priestley (1733-1804). He carried out experiments with electricity and air and for the first time isolated oxygen in a gaseous state. 

On the Movement of the Fried Egg and Other Astronomical Bodies will be on show at the Icon Gallery between 3rd February – 21 March 2010

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