João Maria Gusmão (b. 1979) and Pedro Paiva (b. 1977) are interested in situations where the rationally explicable meets mystical occurrences. In their films, sculptures, photographs and camera-obscura installations the internationally acclaimed Portuguese artists capture the magical moments of everyday scenes and casual gestures: the wing beat of a parrot, a fried egg in a pan, a turning wheel. What the artists catch on their camera and capture on celluloid and photographic paper or cast in bronze are poetic, philosophical reflections on the world.
A focus of the solo exhibition at the Aargauer Kunsthaus is on current filmic works that were created in the context of a multi-week sojourn in Japan. Produced especially for the show in Aarau, these new films are juxtaposed with selected older works and orchestrated in impressive room-size installations. Presented in addition to this are new and never-beforeshown photographs and bronze sculptures that attest to the humour and subtlety with which Gusmão & Paiva manage to playfully seduce their audiences. In their sculptures the Lisbon-based artists examine our relationship to reality, only to turn it upside down with analytical precision, sensitivity, and humour. The interlocking of previously parallel creative areas enables visitors in Aarau to establish new and surprising cross-references between the various bodies of work and gain deeper insights into this multilayered oeuvre.
The works of Gusmão & Paiva reference the history of art, photography, and film in manifold ways and take us on a fascinating journey into the realm of the mysterious and invite us to participate in the artist duo’s visual experiments.