What would the music be without sound? Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo are OSGEMEOS - street art twins and former b-boys who took on the challenge to bring that vision to life in their exhibition Silence of the Music - housed at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in one of New York City’s swanky Chelsea neighborhoods. Five rooms have exploded with collages, mixed media, sculptures and murals of their signature yellow people in adventures delving into the 80s São Paulo street scene. From the seductive smell of spray paint right down to the first lock and break, I watched a wild, artistic fusion of Hip Hop’s New York City origins combine with their roots in Hip Hop’s Brazilian birthplace, the favelas of São Paulo.
The São Paulo Subway Scene
The São Paulo Metrô is the largest rapid transit system in Brazil and the second largest system in South America. That explains why a handful of OSGEMEOS’s characters can be seen riding on a train or within proximity to one. It is to São Paulo street artists what MTA was for street writing pioneers in New York City back in the 80s, the golden era. In both parts of the world, metro transportation systems played a huge role in street style, culture and the overall underground movement itself. Ismael Toledo - Brazil’s original b-boy, is said to be responsible for the rapidly growing presence of Hip Hop culture, now present in São Paulo and other parts of the country.
Blending in among a multitude of English and Portuguese phrases and faces varying in hues of browns and yellows, there is a subtle, yet striking presence of African roots. Tucked away in the upper right-hand corner of an entranceway, it was hard to keep my eyes off of the moon-shaped mahogany figure, wearing a rainbow of spoons as a top. In another shallow corner, near a series of exciting dancing yellow figures, I spotted another brown face with a mane of wild locks and a smoke.
Your style is just as important as your skill. From the smirky, beady-eyed figure clutching a spray can on the train to the flexible b-boys with dazzling blue tops and geometric-pattern bottoms, self-expression is displayed as one of street style’s most important signatures.
The donkey sporting a shiny, red Kangol hat. The old man’s boombox that doubles as a guitar. The red-eyed unicorn and deep-rooted religious figures. These are all ways that OSGEMEOS have incorporated culture into these works of art. In most cases, they also couldn’t help but include a boombox or music player, either. Scattered throughout the exhibit, small images of some of Hip Hop’s most influential b-boys and musicians also grace the presence of the vibrant, art-covered walls and ceilings.
See more incredible photos from Silence of the Music below.