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A Conquista do Espaço

by Phuong-Cac Nguyen
on 25 July 2007

Fake people in slightly off situations, intricate murals created using the city's dirt: These works were created by some of the biggest names in graffiti and contemporary art in the excellently-curated "A Conquista do Espaço: Novas Formas da Arte de Rua" (The Conquest of Space: New Forms of Street Art) currently on display in São Paulo at SESC Pinheiros and SESC Pompeia. The exhibit visually discusses how physical space motivates the form street art takes and how its appearance wins over that space.

Eleven international artists—Alexandre Orion (Brazil), Blu (Italy), Buenos Aires Stencil and Run Don't Walk (Argentina), Fefe Talavera (Brazil), Leon Reid IV (U.S.), Mark Jenkins (U.S.), Onesto (Brazil), Sam3 (Spain), M-City (Poland) and Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada (Cuba/U.S.)—transformed the government-owned public rec and cultural centers into a mesmerizing Disneyland of detailed, carefully executed pieces made for the space they occupy. (See more images here.)


Kids fiddle, unafraid, with Jenkins' fake thugs dressed in baggy clothes that sat on benches, while adults followed the nature-meets-city fight depicted in a magnificent picture story line by Sam3. Orion, famous for his graf work (the success of which at times depends on the public's unwitting participation), puts a new spin on the words "clean art" by making a mock representation of his previous work, turning a tunnel into a visual catacomb with the use of rags and water. Blu's fantastic and wildly intricate outdoor mural explores painted versus real guns, and Leon Reid IV seeks to spin metaphors about urban life using already-existing structure.H ere, his chain-wrapped mannequin lassos one of the building's poles threatening to bring it to collapse.

The exhibit, curated by São Paulo artist collective Base-V, is on display until 23 September and includes workshops and talks led by the artists themselves.

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