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Installation view of Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj: Studies for A Minor History of Trembling Matter. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj: Studies for A Minor History of Trembling Matter

Saturday, February 18, 2017
Sunday, June 18, 2017

1905 Building

Studies for A Minor History of Trembling Matter presents a work in progress by artists Tamar Guimarães (Brazilian, born 1967) and Kasper Akhøj (Danish, born 1976) that focuses on their research in Palmelo, a small town in the interior of the state of Goiás, Brazil. Half of the town’s inhabitants see themselves as practicing mediums and healers—psychic conduits to the world of the spirits—while they also hold day jobs as civil servants.

The mediums adhere to the beliefs of Spiritism, a philosophical practice that works to reconcile belief in invisible spirits with science and has as many as twenty million adherents in Brazil. In their work as healers, the Palmelo mediums have translated their beliefs into a rigorously mechanical and highly choreographed set of actions requiring the participation of both healers and observers. In contrast with a Western culture that idealizes individualism, their practices are a radically collective endeavor that may share as-yet-undiscovered connections with the longer history of shamanism in Latin America, a tradition that predates the worldview and techniques of the Palmelo mediums. This fascination with footnotes and rumors is the “minor history” referred to in the work’s title—the kind of history that, for Guimarães and Akhøj, matters the most.

Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj (Brazilian, born 1967, and Danish, born 1976). Still from A Minor History of Trembling Matter, 2017. Three color videos with stereo sound. Running times: 21 minutes, 21 minutes, and 30 minutes. Image courtesy of the artists, Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, and Ellen De Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam.

Tamar Guimarães and Kasper Akhøj (Brazilian, born 1967, and Danish, born 1976). Still from A Minor History of Trembling Matter, 2017. Three color videos with stereo sound. Running times: 21 minutes, 21 minutes, and 30 minutes. Image courtesy of the artists, Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, and Ellen De Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam.

Later this year, A Minor History of Trembling Matter will be presented in another form at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. This is the artists’ first solo museum exhibition in the United States.

This exhibition is organized by Senior Curator Cathleen Chaffee.

Admission to this exhibition is free during M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY on March 3, April 7, May 5, and June 2, 2017.

Exhibition Sponsors

This exhibition was made possible through the generosity of the Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo and The Seymour H. Knox Foundation.

Equipment and technical support provided by Advantage TI. 

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