For Gisela Motta and Leandro Lima (Motta e Lima for short), sharing the creative process is as lawless as the dynamics of love. They’ve been partners for over 15 years, and ever since they met at the School of Visual Arts (FAAP), they’ve been making art from the challenge of sharing ideas and a life in common. “People don’t get how it’s possible to share the creation. I often say that it’s like asking who gets to be on top and who will be on the bottom during sex,” Gisela says in our behind-the-scenes documentary above.
From Leandro’s perspective, the couple has reached the point of becoming a unit, but not without a whole lot of negotiation in the process. “In the beginning, we had more individual work, but today, one helps the other so much, it’s like a company. It’s nice because it’s not stuck to my issues or hers. The creation process happens in many different ways, each artwork is different. And there’s a lot of negotiation going on, it’s not easy,” he says in the video above.
At first, they worked primarily with video, partly because they had access to recording and editing tools, but also because of their passion for cinema. Their relationship’s dynamic is often explored in their pieces, and sometimes they even use themselves as characters. In the video Você Para (2008) (“You, Stop It”), they play with couples’ inevitable arguments, taking turns in the roles of knife thrower and target.
Disque M Para Matar (2009) (“Dial M for Murder”), is a good example of their penchant for incorporating popular cinema into their art pieces. “Using Hitchcock’s film, we did an interactive installation where the scene before the telephone rings would keep looping. If you’d call the number on the screen, the phone would ring, the story would go on, and the murder would happen,” Leandro explains. A reference to the seventh art (film) is also found in their latest work, Overlook (2012).
“It’s an iron table with a 60-inch LED TV used as base for a laser-cut acrylic glass maze model, which is actually a replica of the one from The Shining, by Kubrick, from that scene where Jack Nicholson sees it from the hotel [Overlook is the hotel’s name, inspiring the name of the piece]. A video plays on the TV simulating a shadow as if the sun was going east to west over the model. It’s interesting to bring a story from the movies to a piece that is so contemporary.”
Gisela Motta & Leandro Lima are always trying to connect “some interesting process that has poetic potential with some issue.” In Anti-Horário (“Counterclockwise”) (2011) they wanted to explore the issue of time and its passing. They studied different camera lenses and found the perfect angle to shoot a small patch of land and sea in a way that make it look like the earth is spinning. In it, the couple walks in circles, representing the clock’s minute hand, while their son, Tiê, plays the second hand. “We joke that it’s our clock, because it really does work like a clock,” Gisela says.
Technology, for Gisela and Leandro, is process of discovery and problem solving concepts that have not yet been explored. At the same time, they want to think about the issues of everyday life. “Concept doesn’t necessarily come before technique or vice versa,” Gisela says. Leandro finishes: “We believe a material also has the potential to bring out a concept.”