First solo U.S. museum exhibition of Brazilian artists Os Gemeos
Dianna Molzan creates all new body of work for ICA exhibition
Os Gemeos date their artistic beginnings to 1987 when hip-hop invaded Brazil. The music and images of youth dancing and painting graffiti, transmitted via photo books and films, left an indelible mark on the twins. But in the late 1980s, limited access to art-making materials—Brazilian spray paint was expensive and inferior in quality—forced the artists to improvise and create their own visual style. They began painting New York graffiti–style murals with house paint, brushes, and rollers instead of spray paint.
The twins share a deep bond and artistic vision; they divide their painting mode in two, painting together, and starting and finishing each other’s works. Os Gemeos draw greatly from their surroundings, and their narrative work is a visual synthesis of their everyday lives: the color and chaos of Brazil, particularly in the Cambuci neighborhood of São Paulo—or portraits of youth in red hoodies breaking into train yards and painting in subway tunnels. A common motif depicts several graffiti taggers garbed in brightly patterned clothes stacked atop one another to reach an impossibly high spot. In addition to contemporary urban themes, rural Brazil has an equally significant presence in their work. Festivals, music, and folk art fascinate the twins and inspire fantastical paintings of musicians, processions and festivals—all of which are based on their own photographs.
Otávio and Gustavo Pandolfo, known as Os Gemeos, were born in 1974 in São Paulo, Brazil, where they continue to live and work. In addition to their street art, they have been commissioned to create several public projects including the painting of trains and subways in São Paulo and Porto Alegre, Brazil. Their work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture, one of the most notable exhibitions of street and underground youth culture.
As part of their ICA exhibition, Os Gemeos have created public murals in Dewey Square on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway and on the Revere Hotel Boston Common. The new murals will remain on view throughout the run of the ICA exhibition (Aug. 1 – Nov. 25). On the Greenway, the artists have incorporated the physical properties of the Dewey Square Air Intake Structure into a unique, 70’ x 70’ mural. A semi-circle on the façade of the Intake Structure has been turned into the head of one of Os Gemeos’s iconic yellow-colored characters, who peers through a brightly colored hoodie towards Dewey Square and Boston’s South Station. Os Gemeos’s yellow-colored characters also appear on the Revere Hotel mural, located on the Stuart Street exterior of the building. This smaller-scale mural offers a portrait of the artists in action: one character stands on the shoulders of the other, reaching skyward to tag the wall in purple spray paint with the word gemeos.
The Os Gemeos mural on the Revere Hotel is made possible by the Boston Art Commission and the City of Boston.
The Os Gemeos mural on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway is made possible by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Boston Art Commission and the City of Boston.
ICA First Fridays: BRAZILIAN STREET PARTY
Friday, August 3, 2012 (5-10pm)
Celebrate the opening of Os Gemeos with a waterfront dance party! Caipirinhas, Brazilian street food and DJs will take visitors to the heart of the artists' native São Paulo.
Os Gêmeos is generously sponsored by Deutsche Bank. Additional support provided in part by the Revere Hotel, the Brazilian Government and the Consulate-General of Brazil in Boston, and Tim Phillips.
Molzan’s recent paintings embrace the unwieldy history of art, nodding in color and form to figures as divergent as the Renaissance sculptor Andrea della Robbia (1435–1525), portrait artist John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), and modernist painter Philip Guston (1913–1980). The exhibition’s title is an allusion to the Grand Tour, a trip customarily taken to the great cultural sites of Europe. Molzan describes her wide-ranging interest in art and visual culture as a kind of tourism—a viewpoint that poetically folds linear time and physical space. “Paintings are prophecies received from the past, prophecies about what the spectator is seeing in front of the painting at that moment,“ says Molzan.
As well as making a foray into cultural tourism, Molzan was also inspired by the architectural design of the ICA’s gallery. Its white walls, gridded illuminated ceiling, and polished concrete floor are characteristic of the prevailing contemporary art gallery aesthetic: plain, neutral, white on pale. Molzan echoes these surroundings by employing monochromatic or transparent surfaces and stripped-back forms, but her use of bold color argues against neutral. Treating the gallery as a site-specific context is unusual for a painter, though several artists and designers have created interiors and buildings as works of art. Consider the white on whites of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s interiors, or the Henri Matisse–designed chapel in Vence, France. Like those who have created total aesthetic environments, Molzan considers her exhibitions sites where paintings can be experienced as an ensemble. For her ICA exhibition, Molzan tries on novel ideas about space, variations on traditional painting materials such as silk, exaggerated scale shifts among works, and an attention to paint that is a departure from previous work.
Molzan’s paintings test the capacity of the picture plane and illustrate that it is more than a surface on which to apply paint; it is a surface—along with other surfaces to the side and in between—for an expanded field of painting.
Molzan was born in 1972 in Tacoma, Washington, and lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2001) and her MFA from the University of Southern California (2009). Molzan has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2011), and her gallery, Overduin and Kite in Los Angeles (2009). Several of her works were included in the show All of this and nothing at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011).
Supported by Tristin and Martin Mannion
An influential forum for multi-disciplinary arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art has been at the leading edge of art in Boston for 75 years. Like its iconic building on Boston's waterfront, the ICA offers new ways of engaging with the world around us. Its exhibitions and programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas. The ICA, located at 100 Northern Avenue, is open Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 am - 5 pm; Thursday and Friday, 10 am - 9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm. Admission is $15 adults, $13 seniors and $10 students, and free for members and children 17 and under. ICA Free Admission for Youth is sponsored by State Street Foundation. Free admission on ICA Free Thursday Nights, 5 - 9 pm. Free admission for families (2 adults + children 12 and under) on last Saturday of the month. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our Web site at www.icaboston.org