Anita Beckers

Cao Guimaraes

07 Sep - 07 Nov 2013

© Cao Guimaraes
7 September – 7 November 2013

A selection of film works by Cao Guimaraes will be shown. This selection was already presented in the Spring at ITAU CULTURAL in Sao Paulo.
Brazil is the guest of this year’s edition of the Frankfurt Book Fair. For occasion of this event, we will dedicate an exhibition to this great Brazilian artist.
Moreover his newest film Limbo (2011) will be exhibited in the Parcour Exhibition of the B3 biennale, which can be seen from October 30th through November 3rd, in Atelier Frankfurt.

Since a few years, documentary is well established into the contemporary visual art's discourse and practice. So can Cao Guimarães' conceptual approach be understood. The principles which would later characterize his artistic practice can already be found as early as in his emblematic photographic series Gambiarra (2001-2012). In it, he catalogues the inventive, practical solutions we improvise in our everyday life, such as a paper clip used as makeshift bra strap adjuster. The same way, all nine films in the exhibition are mainly concerned with the question of “the Other”, even if this “Other” can only be grasped through his gestures, traces, memories and absence. A typical strategy of Cao Guimarães, who mostly focuses on every day objects and situations, so that human presence, can only indirectly be inferred.

In Sin Peso (Weightless) (2006) for example, the commonly visible colourful blankets of street vendors in the streets of Mexico City, gain a life and a temporality of their own and break away with the surrounding reality, only to be brought back by the rough voices of the merchants. Alone through the observation of his video camera, fixed onto a tripod for long periods of time, Guimarães captures individual images, which he then puts together like a photo album. Thus creating fictional narratives, which do without the effects of the mainstream cinema and playfully move away from its own essence.

Also establishing acute correspondences with the photographic medium, Limbo (2011) deals with both the unpredictability and the banality of the real. These images progressively transform and acquire a strange subjectivity, to the point of an almost hallucinatory quality that finally dissolves all distinctions. Less an obsessive or exhaustive but more an affective and fictive collection of images, Limbo transpires a phantasmagorical, desolate and melancholic mood.

Cao's simple subjects seem to suggest a denial of intellectualization, whereas his strategy proposes the opposite. The artist seems rather focused in reflecting how we are bond to specific ways of seeing and feeling by uncovering the underlying poetry in things. In his own words: “a sort of filmed diary” or “a small solitary exercise on observing the world”, as to provoke a “natural enlargement of the possibilities of expression”.
His poignant observation of reality, a reality always imbued of precariousness and occasioned by chance, reveals both a poetic and a ludic side to all things. An aptitude which finally can be recognized as a defining trace of Brazilian culture itself. (Text: Liliana Rodrigues)

Cao Guimarães (born in 1965 in Belo Horizonte / BR) ranks among the most successful Brazilian video artists. Since the 80s his works, which include film, video, installation and photography, have been included in numerous museum exhibitions and festival screenings, u.a. Tate Modern, London / UK, Guggenheim Museum, New York / USA, CAB- Centro de Arte de Burgos / E, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt / D, Locarno / CH, Sundance / USA, and Cannes / FR among others. He participated in the 25. and 27. Biennial of São Paulo (in 2002 and 2006), as well as in the Insite Biennial 2005, San Diego/ Tijuana. His works are part of many art collections, u.a. Fondation Cartier Pour L’art Contemporain, Tate Modern, Walker Art Center, Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museo de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza, Julia Stoschek Collection, among others. Cao Guimarães lives and works in Belo Horizonte.

Screen 1 (left):
“Blow” (2000) , “Concert for Chlorophyll” (2005), “Weightless” (2006), “Nanofania” (2003)

Screen 2 (right):
“Bus” (2002), “From the window of my room” (2004), “Peiote” (2007), “Hypnosis” (2001)

Tags: Cao Guimarães