OSGEMEOS at the 6th São Paulo Meeting of Hip Hop Artists (2012)
1974 (age 43–44)
São Paulo, Brazil
|Known for||Painters, muralists, graffiti|
|Movement||Hip hop culture|
OSGEMEOS (also known as Os Gemeos or Os Gêmeos, Portuguese for The Twins), born 1974 in São Paulo, Brazil, are graffiti and street artists who are identical twin brothers Otavio Pandolfo and Gustavo Pandolfo. OSGEMEOS started painting graffiti in 1987 and gradually became a main influence in the local scene, helping to define Brazil's style.
Their work often features yellow-skinned characters - taken from the yellow tinge both of the twins have in their dreams - but is otherwise diverse and ranges from tags to complicated murals. Subjects range from family portraits to commentary on São Paulo's social and political circumstances, as well as Brazilian folklore. Their graffiti style was influenced by both traditional hip hop style and the Brazilian culture.:64
From their beginnings in Brazil to today, OSGEMEOS has reached international acclaim and commercial success. Their work appears on streets and in galleries across the world. The duo are considered two of the most influential street artists within the genre.
Hip hop culture reached Brazil in the late 1980s and appealed to a lot of the country's teenagers at the time. The twins started out as breakdancers and got involved with the graffiti aspect later on. Their first graffiti emulated early New York City hip hop pieces.:16 It was some years before they began to put Brazilian cultural elements and influences into their graffiti.:159
Their first significant artistic influence outside their immediate environment, and their limited access to American hip hop (Style Wars, Subway Art, Beat Street), stemmed from a chance encounter with Barry McGee (also known as Twist), who was in Brazil for several months on a study abroad program through the San Francisco Art Institute in 1993. Technique and experience were shared, and McGee provided photographs of American graffiti. Through McGee, OSGEMEOS met Allen Benedikt (founder of 12oz Prophet Magazine and also part Brazilian), who together with Caleb Neelon (also known as Sonik) was the first to interview them after a trip to Brazil in 1997 (in 12oz Prophet Magazine Issue 6; 1998), which became OSGEMEOS' introduction to audiences outside of South America.:17–18
Works in Brazil
There have been many works by OSGEMEOS made in Brazil. Because subway systems and trains are often an object of pride in Brazilian cities, and therefore especially well guarded, they were not painted as often as other places (in contrast with graffiti in other countries). But as of the early 2000s a couple of graffiti artists, OSGEMEOS included, were invited to paint trains legally.:44 This raised OSGEMEOS' profile, helping them transition to large-scale public commissioned work, such as murals (for example the Paulista Avenue mural).:46 In 2009, they painted a mural in Vale de Anhangabau, São Paulo, commissioned by the SESC Brazil. Titled "The Foreigner," the piece was originally scheduled to be shown for thirty days, but public approval allowed it to remain until the demolition of the building in 2012. For the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the duo were commissioned to decorate the national soccer team's official Boeing 737 aeroplane. The project used over 1,200 cans of spray paint to depict the diversity of Brazilian culture.
Notable public works
Compared to Europe, North America, and Southern America, Asia has the least number of works by OSGEMEOS to date. In 2008, OSGEMEOS painted several works in Mumbai, India, many of were still visible in 2016. More recently, OSGEMEOS exhibitied at Art Basel in Hong Kong through the Lehmann Maupin gallery, based in Hong Kong and New York City.
OSGEMEOS painted a 16 meter by 10 meter mural in the centre of Heerlen, the Netherlands. This painting determines part of cultural festival Cultura Nova. It was the inspiration source of the large opening act where the head character came to life in association with the French group La Plasticiens Volant. The show “L’Etranger” went in premiere on 29 August 2008 and was one-off seen on Cultura Nova. The wall painting continues to be preserved and is shown on the Schelmenhofje in Heerlen, the Netherlands.
Lisbon, Portugal also features many works by OSGEMEOS. In 2010 and 2011, OSGEMEOS painted two large-scale murals on the sides of buildings. The project was planned by a public private commission and is considered representative of the Portuguese-Brazilian cultural relationship.
Their first solo exhibition in the United States was at The Luggage Store in San Francisco, California in 2003. As part of the Dreamland Artist Club 2005 project, they painted a 130-foot mural in Coney Island on Stillwell Ave. In 2009, OSGEMEOS painted their first mural in Manhattan on the northwest corner of Houston Street and the Bowery. The piece is notable for its colorful, fantastic, and imaginative composition, being compared to a work of magical realism. One of their works is a wall in Miami, Florida painted for Art Basel Miami Beach. Other cities include Boston and Los Angeles.
In 2012, OSGEMEOS painted a 70-foot by 70-foot public mural in Dewey Square in Boston, Massachusetts, which received public backlash. The piece, created in collaboration with the ICA and Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, depicted a young, yellow figure with its face wrapped in a red shirt. On a segment for Fox 25 News, commentators linked the image to racially charged, post-9/11 fears of terrorism. Meanwhile, critical source generally considered it to be an incredibly successful public artwork. As the original commission was only temporary, the work was removed on schedule in 2013.
Outside of the United States, in 2014, OSGEMEOS created their largest piece to date, titled "Giants," for the Vancouver Biennale in Vancouver, Canada on six industrial silos. Large and expensive, the work is notable in that it was paid for through crowdfunding.
OSGEMEOS have exhibited fine art pieces across the world, including paintings, sculptures, installations, drawings, and performance pieces. Like many street artists who translate their work into the fine art world, OSGEMEOS inhabits a difficult position between both worlds. While they have reached institutional acclaim, their work is still considered evocative of street art culture and is representative of hybrid style between both art worlds. In the gallery and on the street, their work has been described as "escapist fantasies," notable for its dreamy, illustrative, and patterned style. Observers have compered this dream-like aesthetic to the works of Hieronymus Bosch and M. C. Escher.
In 2013, they collaborated with luxury brand Louis Vuitton to design a scarf, alongside artist Retna and Lady Aiko. In 2016, an Untitled 2009 piece from OSGEMEOS sold for over $300,000 at market.
"With rage, bliss and the power of their simultaneity, OSGEMEOS have come to signify Brazilian graffiti itself to many viewers.":64
"Renowned for spray-painting with a kind of intuitive understanding, they have also gained recognition for their fantastic characters..."
- 2007: Wakin Up Nights, de Pury & Luxembourg, Zurich.
- 2007: Still on and non the wiser, Von der Heydt-Museum, Kunsthalle Barmen, Wuppertal DE.
- 2008: fresh air smells funny, Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche, Osnabrück DE.
- 2008: Call it what you like!, KunstCentret Silkeborg Bad DK.
- 2010: Pra quem mora lá, o céu é lá - Berardo Museum Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, Lisbon
- 2010: Nos braos de um anjo, Galleria Patricia Armocida, Milano
- 2011: Street Art – meanwhile in deepest east anglia, thunderbirds were go…, Von der Heydt-Museum, Kunsthalle Barmen, Wuppertal DE.
- 2012: OSGEMEOS, Miss You, Prism, West Hollywood, CA
- 2012: OSGEMEOS, ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MA
- 2014: OSGEMEOS. A Ópera Da Lua, Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo
- Tristan Manco; Caleb Neelon; Lost Art (October 2005). Graffiti Brasil. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-28574-8.
- Nguyen, Patrick (2010-01-01). Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art. Prestel Pub. ISBN 9783899552904.
- Kuttner, Theodore (2015). "OS GEMEOS and the Institutionalization of street art: Cyclical Narratives" (PDF). Street Art and Urban Creativity Scientific Journal. 1(2) – via urbancreativity.org.
- Payne, Marissa (2014). "Take a look at what artist duo 'Os Gemeos' did to Brazil's World Cup soccer team plane". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Charanjiva, Jas (2016). "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Os Gemeos in Mumbai". StreetArtNews. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Creahan, D. (2017). "AO Preview – Hong Kong: Art Basel Hong Kong at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center, March 23rd – 25th, 2017". Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Hunter, Garry (2013-06-06). Street Art: From Around the World. Arcturus Publishing. ISBN 9781782126676.
- Elias, Helena (2015). "From squares to walls: contemporary murals of Os Gemeos, Nunca and Bicicleta sem Freio in Lisbon" (PDF). Street Art and Urban Creativity Scientific Journal. 1 (2) – via urbancreativity.org.
- Levy, Rom (2015). "Os Gemeos creates a new mural in Vilnius, Lithuania". StreetArtNews. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Smith, Roberta (2009-08-03). "Os Gêmeos, Brazilian Graffiti Artists, Create a World on a New York Wall". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Garelick, Jon. "The Os Gêmeos mural one year later: another kind of message - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Harrington, Jaime Rojo & Steven (2012-08-08). "OS Gemeos And "The Giant Of Boston"". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Annear, Steve. "Controversial Dewey Square Mural Is Coming Down". Boston Magazine. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- "Brazilian Twin Artists Transform Vancouver's Granville Island". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- "OSGEMEOS - 23 Artworks, Bio & Shows on Artsy". www.artsy.net. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Harrington, Jaime Rojo & Steven (2016-09-14). "Os Gemeos Paintings, Sculpture, Music, Dreams At Lehmann Maupin". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- "Louis Vuitton Unveils Collaborations With Retna, Os Gemeos, and Aiko". Complex. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- D'Angelo, Madelaine (2016-12-21). "The Art Market in 2016". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- "Os Gemeos Portrait Now Watching Over Allen Street". Bowery Boogie. 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Nicholas Ganz; Tristan Manco (October 2004). Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents. Thames & Hudson. p. 85.
- Reisser, Mirko; Peters, Gerrit; Zahlmann, Heiko, eds. (2000). Urban Discipline 2000: Graffiti-Art. Urban Discipline: Graffiti-Art (in English and German). 1 (1st ed.). Hamburg (Germany): getting-up. p. 28. ISBN 3-00-006154-1.
- Reisser, Mirko; Peters, Gerrit; Zahlmann, Heiko, eds. (2001). Urban Discipline 2001: Graffiti-Art. Urban Discipline: Graffiti-Art (in English and German). 2 (1st ed.). Hamburg (Germany): getting-up. p. 54. ISBN 3-00-007960-2.
- Reisser, Mirko; Peters, Gerrit; Zahlmann, Heiko, eds. (2002). Urban Discipline 2002: Graffiti-Art. Urban Discipline: Graffiti-Art (in English and German). 3 (1st ed.). Hamburg (Germany): getting-up. p. 100. ISBN 3-00-009421-0.
- Runnette, Charles (2006-03-12). "The Talk; Double Vision". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
- Assum Preto, 2008, Libri Aparte, ISBN 978-88-95059-05-1
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