born 1979 in Lisbon, Portugal
lives and works in Lisbon, Portugal

Over the last twenty years, João Maria Gusmão has developed an enigmatic and complex set of practices and meta-practices ranging from experimental film to photography, encompassing sculpture and drawing, and extending to literature, exhibition curating and publishing.

JMG’s research stands at the crossroads between a metaphysical reflection on the aesthetics of photography and early cinema, a conceptual examination of the analogue medium, the revival of certain Modernist experiments within literature and particular currents in contemporary philosophy (transcendental materialism and speculative realism). His installations/exhibitions/projects are evocative of a non-diegetic experiment in the moving image organised not as a replacement of the world but as a spectral and mnemonic manifestation of its removal. Hinging on a “mental experience” of time/image, his work attempts to stimulate a remote awareness in the observer both in discursive terms, reflecting on the conditions of visibility (the essence of image/theory), and in the phenomenological experience in general (duration/description), questioning our modes of existence and the representation of the world. JMG has expanded his work as an artist by collaborating with different artists, curators and publishers on various contemporary art platforms.

His long, multidisciplinary and prolific collaboration with Pedro Paiva (from 2001 to 2018) was particularly notable for their highly composite 16mm film footage shown in immersive installations using various projection devices. In the words of Chris Fitzpatrick, JMG+PP are artists dedicated to “charting a line of naturalist inquiry in the abyss—peripatetically assaying its contents through biological and technical comparisons, philosophical demonstrations, psychological illustrations, and para-scientific observations (often with considerable overlap).” Based on periods of cinematographic production and the use of alternative cinematic techniques, these creations were combined in themed exhibitions which, as a whole, comprise the conceptual and poetic corpus of their joint work (Eflúvio Magnético [Magnetic Effluvium] 2003-06; Abissologia [Abyssology] 2008-12; Papagaio [Parrot] 2014-16; Avantesma Fantasma, 2016-19).

In February 2020, Gusmão joined Celia Bernasconi, curator of the NMNM in Monaco, to create an exhibition on the work of Eugène Frey (1863-1930), one of the last pioneers of the magic lantern. The show was dedicated to an alternative history of the moving image for which the museum commissioned various installations from the artist.

Gusmão has established longstanding relationships with other artists, creating content and written material for projects with Natxo Checa and ZdB, and collaborating with artists including Alexandre Estrela, Mattia Denisse and Gonçalo Pena. An example of this is the project Luacão, which he developed with Paiva and Estrela (and Natxo Checa, as curator), and was shown in Lisbon by ZDB in 2017 and at Kunstverein Mϋnchen and La Casa Encendida in Madrid in 2018.

Gusmão has also published books and has curated various exhibitions by Gonçalo Pena at Galeria Graça Brandão, ZDB (co-curated with Natxo Checa), Kunstverein Mϋnchen (co-curated with Pedro Paiva), Andrew Kreps in New York and Galleria Zero in Milan (co-curated with Pedro Paiva). In 2022, he will co-curate a monographic show on the work of Mauro Restiffe with Natxo Checa at ZDB.

Curatorial Projects

2021 Barber Shop by Gonçalo Pena, curated by João Maria Gusmão, Museu Serralves, Porto, Portugal
2021 Barbearia... by Gonçalo Pena, curated by João Maria Gusmão, Andrew Kreps Gallery, NY, USA
2021 Metafísica by Gonçalo Pena, curated by João Maria Gusmão and Natxo Checa, Galeria Zé dos Bois, Lisbon, Portugal
2019 A Pele do Fantasma seguido d’A Sueca, Gonçalo Pena, Coleção Maria e Armando Cabral, Lisbon, Portugal Gaita!, Galeria Graça Brandão. Gonçalo Pena Lisboa, Portugal

Curatorial Projects with Pedro Paiva

2016 Unfinished Mandarin, KM - Kunstverein München. München, Germany
2015 Oracular Spectacular: Desenho e Animismo (edition of Gonçalo Pena work on display), CIAJG, Guimarães, Portugal
2014 Viagem Macaca, Gonçalo Pena, Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon, Portugal
Monkey Trip, Gonçalo Pena, Galleria Zero, Milan, Italy

Solo Exhibitions

  • A Pele do Fantasma seguido d'A Sueca, Colecção Maria e Armando Cabral, Lisbon
  • Lua Cão (with Alexandre Estrela), Galeria Zé dos Bois, Lisbon
  • Avantesma Fantasma and a b&w ghost show, Galleria Zero, Milan
  • Aveantesma Fantasma, BoCA Biennial of Contemporary Arts, Teatro Dona Maria II, Lisbon
  • Those animals, that, at a distance, resemble flies / Os animais que ao longe parecem moscas, Oliva Creative Factory / José Lima Collection, São João de Madeira
  • Jardin Infini. De Giverny à l'Amazonie, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz
  • Onça Geométrica, Galleria Zero, Milan
  • O Problema de Molyneux, Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo
  • Third man argument, Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf
  • Maçã e Darwin, Macaco De Newton, Galeria Fonseca Macedo, Ponta Delgada, Azores
  • Voltair's Armpit, Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp
  • Trilemma : Over a Ghostly Conception Fri Art - Centre d'art de Fribourg, Fribourg
  • Those animals that, at a distance, resemble flies, Kunsthaus Glarus, Glarus
  • Since you have eaten the horse, you can travel to Rome by donkey: on dwarf philosophy, Kunsternernes Hus, Oslo
  • 10.000 coisas, Galeria ZDB, Lisbon
  • There’s nothing more to tell because this is small, as is every fecundation, Museo Marino Marini, Florence
  • ... as in all circumstances of life, and especially those that, not being anything in themselves, will become everything in the results, Fondazione Brodbeck, Catania
  • Alien Theory, Frac Île-de-France, Le Plateau, Paris
  • Tem gwef tem gwef dr rr rr, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf
  • "Desinit in Piscem”, More Precisely Ending in Fishtail, IMO Projects, Copenhagen
  • A Brief History of Slowness and Vertigo, Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon
  • Hand Smaller Than Hand, Galerie Kamm, Berlin
  • The foot removes the sock which takes off the shoe which leaves the footprint..., Sies + Höke, Düsseldorf
  • Index, Stockholm, Sweden
  • On the Movement of the Fried Egg and Other Astronomical Bodies, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
  • Analogy, the description of the world, Galleria Zero, Milan
  • Experiments and Observations on Different kinds of Air, Official Portuguese Representation of 53rd Venice Biennale, Venice
  • About the presence of things, Kunstverein Hannover, Hanover
  • Magnetic Resonance On Abissologic Experiments, Mercer Union – Centre For Contemporary Visual Art, Toronto
  • Meteorítica, Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo
  • Meteorítica, Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon
  • Articulações, Allgarve, Minas de Salgema, Loulé
  • Hydraulics of Solids, Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington
  • Passengers 1.7, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
  • Horizonte de Acontecimientos, Matadero Madrid
  • Abissologia, Cordoaria Nacional / Galeria ZDB, Lisbon
  • Crevasse, Laboratório 987, Museu de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Castilla y León
  • Eflúvio Magnético (Síntese), Teatro Municipal da Guarda, Guarda
  • Eflúvio Magnético (2ª. Parte), Galeria ZDB, Lisbon
  • Intrusão: The Red Square, Museu do Chiado, Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon
  • Matéria Imparticulada, Galeria Graça Brandão, Porto
  • Eflúvio Magnético: O Nome do Fenómeno, Galeria ZDB, Lisbon
  • O Ouro dos Idiotas, Projecto InTransit, Artes em Partes, Porto
  • Air Liquide, Galeria Ara, Lisbon

Group Exhibitions

  • Ensaio para uma comunidade: retrato de uma coleção em construção (take 1), Fundação EDP, Lisbon
  • Ways of Seeing Abstraction. Works from the Deutsche Bank Collection, PalaisPopulaire, Berlin
  • Presente Contínuo: Adquisiçoes recentes da coleçao Norlinda e José Lima, Centro de art oliva, São João da Madeira
  • Good Vibrations, Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon
  • Le Cours des Choses, CAPC - Musée d'art contemporain, Bordeaux
  • Haus Wittgenstein, MAAT: Museu de Arte, Arquitectura e Tecnologia, Lisbon
  • Black Light, Secret traditions in Art since the 1950s, CCCB - Centro de Cultura Contemporânea de Barcelona, Barcelona
  • The pull of a well placed comma, MACE - Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Elvas
  • Earl Gravy: Homebodies, Away Teams, UMOCA - Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City
  • Like a Moth to a Flame, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin
  • Quote / Unquote. Entre Apropriação e Diálogo, MAAT. Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia, Lisboa
  • Them or us!, Galeria Municipal do Porto, Porto
  • More Than Just Words [On the Poetic], Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna
  • The String Traveller, Museum of Contemporary Art S.M.A.K., Ghent
  • Film as Sculpture, WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, Belgium
  • The Encyclopedic Palace, 55th Venice Biennale - International Art Exhibition, Venice
  • Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice, Ukrainian Collateral Event on the 55th Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia), Venice
  • Nouvelles Impressions de Raymond Roussel, Palais de Tokyo , Paris
  • It Is Only A State Of Mind, NGBK_ Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin
  • 1966-79, IAC, Institut d'art contemporain, Villeurbanne
  • Zweiter Streich, Fürstenberg Zeitgenössisch, Donaueschingen
  • The Castle in the Air. Séance of Imagination, Centre of Culture ZAMEK, Poznan
  • S. F. (Art, science & fiction), MAC's, Grand Hornu
  • 21 Artists Shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2012, PinchukArtCentre, Kiev
  • Tem calma o teu país está a desaparecer, Galeria ZDB, Lisbon
  • In the Holocene, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA
  • When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco
  • Ghosts in the Machine, New Museum, New York
  • Superpower: Africa in Science Fiction, Arnolfi Gallery, Bristol
  • Collecting Collections and Concepts, Fábrica Asa, Guimarães
  • Arte Portuguesa do Século XX 1960 – 2010, MNAC – Museu do Chiado, Lisbon
  • VI Bienal de Arte e Cultura de São Tomé e Príncipe, Museu da Cidade, Lisbon; São Tomé, São Tomé e Principe
  • Octopus 11: The Matter of Air, Gertrude contemporary art spaces, Melbourne
  • Kunst und Philosophie, n.b.k. Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin
  • The Art of Narration changes with Time, Sprüth Magers, Berlin
  • Experimental Station, CA2M, Madrid
  • Exposição permanente do Museu Colecção Berardo (1960-2010), Museu Colecção Berardo, Lisbon
  • Staging the Archive, MACE - Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas, Elva
  • THE LAST FIRST DECADE, Ellipse Foundation, Alcoitão
  • Responsive Subject, MUZee, Ostende
  • 10,000 Lives, the 8th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju
  • Leopards in the Temple, Sculpture Center, New York
  • The Inhabitants, Vilma Gold Gallery, London
  • FAX, Plug In ICA, Winnipeg, Manitoba; The Drawing Center, New York; Contemporary Museum Baltimore, Baltimore; Plug In ICA, Winnipeg; Dowd Gallery, State University of New York, College at Cortland, Cortland, New York; Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby; Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong; Torrance Art Museum, Torrance
  • Magic Show, The Hayward Gallery; QUAD, Derby; Pump House Gallery, London; Chapter, Cardiff; Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, Carlisle; Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool
  • Monument for Transformation, City Gallery Prague
  • Corpo, Densidade e Limites, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas
  • Options & Futures, Fundação PLMJ, Lisbon
  • Feitorias, Museu de Arte Contemporânea do Funchal
  • Manifesta 7 – European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Rovereto, Italy
  • Rendez-vous Nowhere, Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz
  • Part of the Process 3, Galleria Zero, Milan
  • Múltiplas Direcções, arte portuguesa de 1850 até à actualidade, Museu do Chiado – Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon
  • Parangolé: Fragmentos desde los 90 en Brasil, Portugal y España, Patio Herreriano – Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Español, Valladolid
  • O Presente: Uma Dimensão Infinita, Museu Colecção Berardo, Lisbon
  • L’art contemporain en Europe, Domaine Pommery, Reims
  • Fables Du Doute / Tales Of Disbelief, La Galerie – Centre d’art contemporain, Noisy le Sec, Paris
  • Portugal Agora – À propos des lieux d’origine, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxemburg
  • Colecção António Cachola: Algumas Paisagens, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Elvas
  • Tiempo Al Tiempo / Taking Time, Museo de Arte Contemporánea de Vigo, Vigo
  • Passengers, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
  • VI Bienal de Mercosul, Porto Alegre
  • Sobreposições, Museu do Chiado – Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon
  • IX Prémio União Latina, Culturgest, Lisbon
  • Edit! Fotografia e filme na Colecção Ellipse, Centro de Artes Visuais, Coimbra
  • Intro, Espace photographique Contretype, Brussels
  • I Trienal de Luanda, Luanda
  • XXVII Bienal de São Paulo, São Paulo
  • Laberinto de Museos, Instituto Cervantes, Beijing
  • Open House, Ellipse Foundation, Centro Cultural de Cascais, Cascais
  • Empirismos, Museu da Imagem e do Som, São Paulo / Espaço Cultural Contemporâneo, Brasília
  • 25 Frames por Segundo: Vídeos da Colecção Fundação PLMJ, Cinema São Jorge, Lisbon
  • Retratos e Figuras na colecção do Museu do Chiado, Museu do Chiado – Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon
  • Constelações Afectivas II – Partes I e II, Galeria Graça Brandão, Lisbon
  • Options & Futures #2, Galeria Arte Contempo, Lisbon
  • Mar Atlântico – Portuguese Video Art, FVNM Screening Room 1307, Chicago
  • Portuguese Screen Videoart, loop.05, Barcelona; Museu do Chiado – Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, Lisbon
  • Toxic, o discurso do excesso, Fundição de Oeiras
  • Empirismos / LisboaPhoto, Palácio da Ajuda, Lisbon
  • Del Zero al 2005 – Perspectivas del Arte en Portugal, Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander
  • Drafting Deceit (special screening), Apexart, New York
  • Prémio EDP Novos Artistas, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon
  • Rencontre internationale de lieux de culture indépendants, Bizart, Shanghai
  • Video Zone 2, The Centre for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
  • Re-Produtores de Sentido, SESC Rio, Rio de Janeiro
  • Quartel – Arte, Trabalho e Revolução, PêSSEGOpráSEMANA, Porto
  • Cidade Iluminada, Galeria ZDB, Lisbon
  • How Human: Life in the Post-Genome Era, International Center of Photography, New York
  • Veneer / Folheado, Catalyst Arts, Belfast
  • Os Meus Cromos da Arte Contemporânea, Bienal de Foz Côa, Moncorvo
  • DeParamnésia (parte 3), Tercenas do Marquês / Galeria ZDB, Lisbon
  • DeParamnésia (parte 2), Tercenas do Marquês / Galeria ZDB, Lisbon
  • DeParamnésia (parte 1), Tercenas do Marquês / Galeria ZDB, Lisbon
  • InMemory Galeria ZDB, Lisbon


  • João Maria Gusmão e Pedro Paiva, Dardo Magazine, n. 11 jun – sept 2009, Spain & Portugal
  • Eflúvio Magnético vol2, Published by João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, 2006, Lisbon, Portugal. Texts by: João Maria Gusmão e Pedro Paiva and others
  • Momentos de Luz, Published by Fundação EDP e Fundación Hidrocantábrico, 2006, Lisbon, Portugal. Texts by: João Pinharanda
  • NADA nº7, Published by NADA, 2006, Lisbon, Portugal. Texts by: João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva
  • Fotografia na Arte, de ferramenta a paradigma, Published by Público e Fundação Serralves, 2006, Lisbon, Portugal. Texts by: Ricardo Nicolau and Sandra Vieira Jurgens
  • Ellipse Foundation, Contemporary Art Collection, Published by Ellipse Foundation, 2006, Cascais, Portugal. Texts by: different authors
  • Anamnese, Published by Fundação Ilidío Pinho, 2006, Porto, Portugal. Texts by: different authors
  • Eflúvio Magnético vol1, Published by João Maria Gusmão e Pedro Paiva, 2005, Lisbon, Portugal. Texts by: João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva and others.
  • Extensão do Olhar – Uma antologia visual da fotografia contemporânea, obras da colecção da fundação PLMJ, Published by Assírio e Alvim, 2004, Lisbon, Portugal. Texts by: Miguel Amado
  • Fiasco: João Maria Gusmão, Published by Galeria Ara, Lisbon, Portugal. Texts by: Lúcia Marques

Featured Artworks