Tamar Guimaraes

Tamar Guimaraes

A Man Called Love

29 August–17 October 200929 Aug–17 Oct 2009

Tamar Guimaraes’s fascinating and poetic slide-show A Man Called Love (2007) tells the true story of Francisco Candido Xavier (1910–2002), a Brazilian psychic medium who dedicated his life to writing down the words spoken to him by the dead. The most prolific psychographer of all time, he wrote over 400 books. In the 1960s and 1970s, he was a celebrity in Brazil, drawing large crowds whenever he appeared in public. His novel Our Home (first published in 1944 and continually in print ever since) describes a city where the recently deceased learn and work. It goes on to narrate a tropical vision of social democracy, describing a town with magnificent squares and benches for a million people, where delicate flowers grow amid illuminated fountains. For Guimaraes, speaking of Xavier requires addressing Brazil’s race and class relations, and its military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, during which Xavier enjoyed his greatest popularity. She addresses the development of spiritism in Brazil, its early association with utopian socialisms, and subsequent distancing from them during the dictatorship. A Man Called Love makes use of archival images of Xavier, of spirit materialisations produced in the 1930s and 1940s in Brazil, of Rio and Sao Paulo, and of protests against the military regime in the late 1960s.

The Institute of Modern Art acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the IMA now stands, the Jagera, Yuggera, Yugarapul, and Turrbal people. We offer our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first artists of this country. In the spirit of allyship, the IMA will continue to work with First Nations people to celebrate, support, and present their immense past, present, and future contribution to artistic practice and cultural expression.