João Maria Gusmão, Pedro PaivaThe Human Torch 2006

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Artwork details

João Maria Gusmão (born 1979)
Pedro Paiva (born 1977)
The Human Torch
Date 2006
MediumFilm, 16 mm, projection, colour
Dimensionsduration: 2 min, 23 sec
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from Artur Jorge 2011
Not on display


The Human Torch is a short film by the Portuguese artists João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva showing a man mysteriously guiding the viewer through a series of caves using a torch that appears to burn from his hand. He eventually extinguishes this ‘human torch’ on a wall at the end of the journey.

This work belongs to a group of thirteen silent films by the artists that are intended to be installed together in different areas of a darkened gallery space, projected onto multiple screens or walls and at different scales, so that they form a mosaic of moving images. Gusmão and Paiva work in 16mm silent film (although they also occasionally use 35mm) in order to recall the early days of film and cinema. They also use traditional cinematic devices such as slow motion, laying negatives on top of each other and reverse frames… (read more)

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