Critics’ Picks

View of "Lusque–Fusque Arrebol,” 2022

View of "Lusque–Fusque Arrebol,” 2022


João Maria Gusmão

Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art
Rua Santo António à Estrela, 33
February 8–April 30, 2022

A hallmark of any exhibition by João Maria Gusmão—an artist who, until recently, was best known for his collaborations with Pedro Paiva—is its thoughtful staging. For the exhibition “Lusque–Fusque Arrebol” (a Portuguese phrase that describes the reddish-orange color seen in the sky at twilight), the main room of Cristina Guerra has been made to resemble something between a modern art museum and a movie theater. In the center of the space, the bronze sculpture Farol projetor (Light Projector), 2022, rests on a pedestal. It is surrounded by partitions boldly painted in the titular reddish orange and partially lined with striking black-and-white silver gelatin prints, all from 2022, created by enlarging photographs of drawings on Post-its. On the far wall, a cutout window in the partition frames a tableau of three cast-bronze sculptures arranged to echo the compositions around them, so that at first they read almost as yet another photograph. At the same time, the placement of Farol projetor playfully suggests these sculptures themselves are the projected image.

Meanwhile, the position of the patinated bronze Relógio de Sol (Sun Dial), 2020, at the entrance to the exhibition foregrounds the relationship between the passage of light and time and how that relationship determines what can be imagined, regardless of whether or not it can be perceived visually. The artist enacts his own optical illusions with four magic-lantern projections made over the past two years. The ever-changing flow of imagery stimulates the desire to see—a back-and-forth among expectation, satisfaction, and frustration—that is the raison d’être of the visual arts in general and of film in particular.

Translated from Portuguese by Wendy Gosselin