Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Papered Wall, Rio 2011."

Collage with papered boy, Rio 2011.

The streets of Rio de Janeiro are currently exploding with art, and any available surface is an opportunity for some rogue artist to express (presumably) him-self. Graffiti has reach masterpiece proportions, with artworks elbowing for space on brick walls, electrical boxes, undersides of bridges, and even the occasional slow moving vehicle.

These works in spray paint, by brush, or through decoupage, all tell tales in various styles, of class and struggle, of life on the street and life in outer space, of drugs and euphoria and love and violence and death and peace.

I like many and even love a few of them. In particular, I'm captivated with a few, including those who use original artwork printed on paper which is then pasted around the city in strategic spots.
Illustrated Paper Woman, Rio 2011.
 A wide-eyed woman hugs her stiletto clad feet, amidst a cacophonous array of tags and talent. Each line finely rendered, bringing her curves into curious focus.
Papered Corset, Rio 2011
Nearby, a paper corset is plastered to the wall, a lingering garment from which perhaps she has just escaped, it now transforms into its own butterfly and would surely flutter away if not for the paste fixing it solidly to cement.
Papered Cristo, Rio 2011
The enormous is rendered approachable, as the omnipresent Cristo the Rendentor hovers never far from sight, outstretched arms offering blessings to a city below in perpetual chaos.

Papered Allstar Shoe, Rio 2011
Similarly the minute develops epic proportions, and the importance of an object is exaggerated through prominence and placement. A shoe, probably left by a paper giant, sits stealthily beneath a window ledge.

The industriousness of this display can not be understated, as it allows the vandalizing artists to sneak in and out undetected, quickly applying the adhesive and then the image, presumably an original, before clandestinely moving on to the next "canvas", transforming the sprawling city into an urban gallery.

The more promotional amongst the lot, elect to repeat for effect, same or similar images in multiple locations, creating brand recognition and memory reinforcement.
Art Wallpaper Swatch, Rio 2011
The most dramatic work encountered during this survey was by an artist using a  bold pink and white motif, depicting characters in various states or irony; a smoking mouse, a mustachioed woman, a Mexican wrestling mask or a Day of the Dead skull.

Then, as I rounded the corner in the neighborhood known as Botafogo I encountered the most impressive piece of the day, lurking just inside the gates of the Universidade Federal do Rio, a prolific promoter had covered an entire building with his images.
Universidade Federal do Rio, 2011
Every nook and cranny, every wall, window and door, completed papered, creating a cotton-candy installation, where sightseers and onlookers snapped photos and jaded students rushed to and from classes, feigning indifference.

And this, all within a short afternoon walk along the streets of Rio de Janeiro, the "cidade maravilhoso" living fully up to its name, without even the help of sun or sand or palm tree, just another urban landscape yearning to provide its population of artists a place to live and a place to express the emotions and concepts of that life.

No comments:

Post a Comment