Tamar Guimarães
»Tropical blow up«, 2009
Video, b/w, silent, 4:45 min
Courtesy of the artist

Tamar Guimarães

February 11, 2011 – March 10, 2011

Invited by Jacob Fabricius (Director, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden)

»Tropical blow up« (2009)

Tamar Guimarães (born in Belo Horizonte/lives and works in Copenhagen) works with film, sound and installations. Her work is research based, often making use of found material – such as found images, objects and documents related to famous as well as unknown characters. This material is then manipulated, recombined, restructured, reenacted and presented as case studies, generating associative narrative threads in documentary or semi-documentary films, recordings and installations. This working method is a means by which Guimarães investigates social and political structures.

The silent black and white film »Tropical blow up« is based on photographs from two Brazilian tabloid newspapers active in the 1960s as well as Guimarães' own photographic work. She found the images in the São Paulo state archive under the rubric »urban crime«. In one of the photographs a man points on a clearence in the bush where someone or something once was or should have been. In another image, sectioned in parts, a woman's corpse lies on the ground, half naked and partly mutilated, one shoe still on, while two elderly people, who probably found the corpse, point at it. This gruesome image is sectioned in »Tropical blow up« in such a way, that the viewer only sees a fraction of the woman's shoe and part of her hand in two different frames. Combined with Guimarães' own foliage-garden images, the result is a dreamy, spiritual and uncanny experience.

As a whole, »Tropical blow up« makes reference to two traditional functions of the medium of photography - one is the act of scrutinizing a photographic image for documentary evidence and the other is the tradition of spirit photography, which in this »tropical« setting is a reminer that the ethereal practices of spiritism and communication with the dead are part and parcel of a context where lives are lost cheaply.


Text: Jacob Fabricius