As in many other works by the Brazilian artist Cao Guimarães, the images in Sin Peso (Weightless) are determined by apparently insignificant moments and situations. Here we see large coloured awnings billowing and flapping in the wind. The accompanying soundtrack consists of the voices of peddlers selling their wares on the streets of Mexico City under their shelter. The awnings occupy the entire screen and are the only thing we see, the presence of people being confined to their voices. The combination of images and voices creates a symbiosis between two levels of consciousness: on the one hand, the dreamlike poetry of the billowing cloth; on the other, the everyday reality of the streets of Mexico City conveyed through the voices.
Cao Guimarães started out with photography of a documentary character closely reflecting the markedly realistic approach adopted in his work. This photographic viewpoint is also present in the artist’s films and videos. Elements drawn from photography, experimental cinema and video installation meld to create poetic stories based on episodes or situations of little importance that attain their own autonomy. The coloured awnings to be seen above the hawkers’ heads every day on the streets of Mexico City thus take on a life of their own in Sin Peso (Weightless) and seem to enter a different temporal plane from the surrounding reality, to which they are anchored only by the peddlers’ hoarse cries. Working solely through observation from behind the camera, which he uses to pick out single images and arrange them as in an album, Guimarães creates fantastic stories that dispense with all the effects of mainstream cinema and yet seem to take place far away from any reality.
Cao Guimarães (Belo Horizonte, 1965) is one of the best-known Brazilian filmmakers. His films, videos, installations and photographs have been presented since the 1980s at venues such as the Tate Modern in London, the Guggenheim in New York, the CAB - Centro de Arte de Burgos in Spain, and the Kunstverein in Frankfurt. The artist took part in the 25th and 27th São Paulo biennials and the Insite Biennial 2005 (San Diego/Tijuana). His works are included in the collections of institutions such as the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Tate Modern, the Walker Art Center, the Guggenheim Museum and the Museu de Arte Moderna in São Paulo. Cao Guimarães lives and works in Belo Horizonte.