top of page

Vírgula  no Infinito - Comma in the Infinite



30 August to 01 October, 2011


Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro


Solo Show curated by Luiz Camillo Osorio

Vírgula no Infinito, Comma in the Infinite, a work comprising a circular, silent installation, where one observes the obsession with the suspension of time, through expanded instants. 

Gaston Bachelard’s notion, from his Dialectic of Duration, that “repose is a happy vibration,” was a significant influence for comma in the Infinite.“To have duration, we must entrust ourselves to rhythms, that is to say to systems of instants. Exceptional events must find resonance in us if they are to mark us deeply. In the end, we would venture to turn to the platitude ‘life is harmony’ into a truth. Without harmony, without a well-ordered dialectic, without rhythm, life and thought cannot be stable and secure: repose is a happy vibration.”[1]


Bachelard describes a rhythm that moves between the intellect and the imagination. I look, in the happy vibration that is repose, for the conditions that enable the imagination to express itself. Repose is not achieved through inactivity, but through the alternating rhythms of thought. I wanted to develop a project based on a system of instants, and so I decided to use my intellectual acts, the movement of my work, to create the conditions for the audience’s own imaginative acts. I never deluded myself into thinking that creating the conditions for repose would be a relaxing undertaking. The creation of a work which encourages the imagination and contemplation demands a lot of effort, movement, and both physical and intellectual energy.


I began to film landscapes over long periods of time, and soon began to associate the filming with time itself, and with the clock. After two years of experiments, and hundreds of hours filmed, I chose the circle as the most appropriate format to show the installation comprising 12 films. Each film was captured in a 1-hour continuous shot without camera movements and corresponds to one hour of the day.

Inside this silent circle, there are 12 hours condensed. From 6am to 6pm, we start with the whiteness of the fog gradually hiding and then revealing a timid landscape. On the one hand there is the sensation of looking at a still image (thanks to the long take without camera movements), while on the other we experience duration, time, rhythm, and silence. The atmosphere of stillness, which is key to the work, is strengthened by the memoirs associated with the circle of life and other symbols such as the wheel of fortune and the sun clock.

[1] Bachelard, Gaston. Dialectic of Duration, Clinamen Press, 2000. Pg 21



Curatorial text by Luiz Camillo Osório, Comma in The Infinite, Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro, 2011

The contemporary eye is quick and dispersive. Drawn in many directions, we jump from one register to another, as if channel surfing. The quantity of information is generally inversely proportional to the quality of our perception. The eye’s look may expand in space, but it does not linger in time. We might have freedom of movement, but we have to recapture the serenity of waiting.

The key to Gabriela Gusmão’s work is her sensitivity to detail. Her attention focuses on what the eye quickly forgets, neglects, or doesn’t notice. Positioning the camera to capture the movement of time over the course of an hour, she combines objective limits with subjective saturation, the clock’s precision with the elapsing of time captured by the eye and the camera. Time merges stupor and delight.

Whereas the impressionists went into nature in search of the transitory, to capture moments lived in the blink of an eye and the stroke of a brush, Gabriela’s video-paintings suspend movement to reveal the breath of a landscape, the affection inherent in the non-event. In the words of the artist, citing the philosopher Gaston Bachelard, these are distended images that rely on stillness as a happy vibration.


bottom of page