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Dynamic Duo - Preview Frieze London and Frieze Masters
Fabian Marti: Trip to the Other Side
Gabriel Orozco: The Poetry of Everyday Objects and Unwanted Things
An Interview with the Brazilian Street Artists Os Gêmeos
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“Yellow is a Completely Positive Color”
An Interview with the Brazilian Street Artists Os Gêmeos


Flying fish, furnished heads: since 1987, Os Gêmeos have been creating a brightly-colored, fantastic universe. Now, supported by Deutsche Bank, the ICA in Boston presents the first solo museum exhibition of the Brazilian twins in the US. The bank has previously supported their 2009 exhibition project "Vertigem" at the Museu de Arte Brasileira, São Paulo. In an interview, Os Gêmeos talk about their current show and explain what graffiti and hip hop culture mean to them.


Achim Drucks: With your exhibition “Vertigem,” you’ve transformed the Museu de Arte Brasileira in São Paulo into a psychedelic-surreal wonderland. What can visitors to the ICA expect?

Os Gêmeos: Relatively speaking, the exhibition for the ICA is more on the reduced side. To be precise, it’s completely different than the project for the MAB in Brazil or any of our other previous exhibitions. The curator Pedro Alonzo asked us to do something that concentrated more on canvases, which he wanted to be seen as “windows.” He wanted visitors to be able to relate to each work individually. That was a completely new experience for us! White walls! And then canvases on the wall, besides!

In Boston you’re also, however, going to make a huge mural in public space.

Yes, this is also one of the things we really like to do, and the cities let us. After all, the city is there to be used in a playful, pleasant, and positive way! Each time we work in public space, we get completely involved in the place, the people there, the culture, and the city!

Do you have a precise idea of the murals when you begin work, or does the image develop throughout the working process?  

We draw a lot, all the time, actually. When we’re about to start a new work, it continues to transform, but always in a positive direction. And of course we improvise along the way, but you need a lot of experience and precision for detail.

You’ve been working together from the very beginning.

That’s right, we’ve always worked together! Even in our mother’s womb! We’ve always shared everything. We can’t really explain it, it’s just a given for us. We wouldn’t feel well any other way. We do all the work together—one world one voice!

Are there differences between the works you do for galleries and museums and the works in the streets?  

Yes, and it’s different each time, we never do anything twice. We always try out something new and look for new possibilities of expression. On the streets, we get into the area, the surface we’re painting on, the city … In a museum or a gallery, it’s different. That’s where we create a universe the viewer can dive into and really become absorbed in with all five senses—there’s sound, light, paintings, videos, performances, pictures, and installations.

The yellow-skinned figures have become something like a trademark for you. How did this motif come about?

It’s something we identify with. Yellow is a completely positive color!

Banksy and Shepard Fairey have brought a new kind of success to street art, not only in terms of commercial value, but also its presence in museums. What do you think about this trend?

We believe that every movement brings change along in its train. Barry McGee, Banksy, and other artists that come from street art have kicked a lot of doors open with their work—they’ve created a lot of new possibilities. The art universe is in a state of upheaval. We feel that, and we perceive these changes. It seems that galleries and museums worldwide also recognize the power of these artists. And of course some galleries figured it out years ago! Today, many conceptually oriented galleries refer to artists from the graffiti scene, but so do museum shows. And that’s something the kids of a new generation see and want to consume, of course—things they can identify with.

In the beginning, you worked far away from New York, the urban art center of the time. How did that influence the style of your work?
 

Most of what we learned was in Brazil, in Sao Paulo, by improvising and absorbing everything. That’s how we developed our style—and a large part of the motifs that recur in our works. When we started traveling in 1999, we consciously looked for new influences and went after sharing our experience with like-minded people.

You already began to paint as teenagers in São Paulo in the late 1980s. What was so exciting to you at the time about graffiti and hip hop culture?

It was definitely the freedom and power of graffiti. No one tells you how, where, or why you should do something. Basically, it’s a very direct form of communication.




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On View
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The press on Roman Ondák´s project for the Deutsche Guggenheim / The Press on the Premiere of Frieze New York
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