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Tamar Guimarães, Work of the Spirit (Parade), 2011, Installation Shot
Photograph by Emily Ballard

Tamar Guimarães, Canoas, 2010, Installation Shot
Photograph by Emily Ballard

For her first solo exhibition in the UK, Tamar Guimarães presents a newly commissioned short film alongside two existing works: Canoas (2010) and A Man Called Love (2008).

Guimarães' research-based practice deals with the staging of history. Gathering and manipulating archival images and texts, the artist investigates the relationship between labour, culture and privilege.

Her speculative narratives are each rooted in competing instances of modernity, from the theatres and opera houses of 1910s London to the modernist architecture of 1950s Brazil. Often foregrounding social and class structures, they call into question the role of the left.

The slide presentation and accompanying publication A Man Called Love give an account of Francisco Candido Xavier (1910 – 2002), a Brazilian psychic medium who wrote over 400 books, dictated to him by the dead. Tracing an unusual relationship between redemption and forms of resistance, the work describes how Xavier's version of Spiritism aligned all too neatly with the conservative views of the ruling class during the years of dictatorship in Brazil from 1964 to 1985.

The video Canoas centres upon a cocktail party at Oscar Niemeyer's Casa das Canoas; a masterpiece of Brazilian modernist architecture bordered by tropical jungle. In these seductive surroundings, we overhear snippets of guests' conversations, which range from discussions about the quality of the champagne to the questioning of Gilberto Freyre's observation that “Brazil has an eroticism that transcends race and class.” The collaging of these fractured statements serves to problematise the habits and routines of cultural producers.

Guimarães' new commission documents the teaching of a choreographed dance from Léonide Massine's modernist ballet Parade (1917). The film looks at the overlap of the symbolic and economic value of works of art, which leads the Estate of Massine to classify choreography as a 'work of the spirit.'


Wednesday 29 June, 7pm
Lars Bang Larsen in conversation with Tamar Guimarães
Tamar Guimarães discusses her artistic practice and its broader contexts with art historian and curator Lars Bang Larsen.

Friday 24 June, 7pm
Gasworks' Exhibitions Curator Robert Leckie leads an informal tour of the exhibition.


This exhibition is made possible with the generous support of Catherine Petitgas, Galeria Fortes Vilaça and the Danish Arts Council.