Massa Confusa

João Maria Gusmão, 
with text by the artist and expanded colophon by Post Brothers

Published by Pato em Pequim and Mousse Publishing

English / Portuguese
240 pages, 192 color reproductions
Softcover,  218 x 273 mm
Designed by Ana Baliza

NOTE that every copy of this publication is UNIQUE, bound with a different randomized sequence of signatures.  Your MASSA CONFUSA is one of the kind.

ISBN 978-98-9335-224-3
ISBN 78-88-6749-606-8


€40 / $45

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At long last, the grand arcanum of Massa Confusa is complete. Printed in extenso, in a profusion of permutations, Gusmão’s systematic project is not a coffee table book but rather meant for the meditative and convivial space of the tearoom. The present tome publicises the results of true experiments accomplished in the laboratory of the artist.

The objects of Massa Confusa's attention are Gusmão's personal inventory of traditional Japanese-inspired Chawan tea bowls by the ceramicist Victor Harris (b. 1964’ Bristol). For over half a millennium, such vessels have been integral to the Japanese tea ceremony, serving both as a tool for serving aromatic beverages and as a metonym for the ritual's moral geometry as a meditative worship of the imperfect. In line with tradition, each of Harris' wares are handcrafted and unique, whereby irregular forms are subjected to a string of uncontrollable transformations in the kiln. It is precisely Harris' teasing of prediction and chance, this instability and incalculability of transmuting base materials, that Gusmão tautologically invokes in the photographic renderings of the tea bowls. Following the Paracelsian premise that “like cures like” and pho­tography's magical transfer of information through contact and imitation, the artificer captures some of the cups' volcanic power, this archaic pact of fluid and fire, and redeploys it towards new ends.

Each copy of Massa Confusa is, for all intents and purposes, unique! Every blend is a freshly brewed concoction of decoctions distinct for each reader, which promises an exclusive, well-balanced panacea to boost the passions.

                                    (text Post Brothers, extracted from the publication’s  colophon)