Cover image of the review

Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimarães, The Tenant, 2010. High definition video projection, 10:34, video still. Courtesy of the artists.

Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimarães: Signs of Life

4 May 2024
Fiona and Sidney Myer Gallery 19 Apr - 18 May 2024

When will the bubble burst? It’s a question we ask of stock markets, Taylor Swift, and life itself. It’s a question we also ask as we watch Brazilian artists Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimarães’s video The Tenant (2010), currently showing in the exhibition Signs of Life at the Fiona and Sidney Myer Gallery at the Victorian College of the Arts.

As a group of Monash undergraduate students, we collectively watch a large iridescent soap bubble float through a series of rooms in a seemingly vacant house undergoing renovation. In one shot, the bubble floats past a bright pink wall in the process of being repainted. In another, it’s stalked by the camera as it hurriedly crosses a floor covered with Portuguese-language newspapers. The camera obsessively tracks this otherworldly orb in closely cropped detail, and though we are able to catch a glimpse of the cameraperson’s reflection in the bubble they remain strangely inscrutable. In the final shot, the bubble appears to float up a flight of stairs to the second story of the house, which we never see.

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