Published December 8, 2016, in Degree Critical.
Lehmann Maupin is hosting a show so otherworldly that the white cube we’re accustomed to—and the sterile, untouchable cleanliness of the gallery space—is almost destroyed with OSGEMEOS’s site-specific, gallery-wide project Silence of the Music.
OSGEMEOS are twin brothers from Brazil well known for their street art. (Their name os gemeos means “twins” in Portuguese). Starting with the graffiti around their hometown São Paulo, OSGEMEOS have always created figures with colorful clothes, glittery jewels, and yellow faces inside a waking dream world. It has been the artists’ way of making art accessible to their community, and to give a little hope during times of distress.
Their background in street art is clear when you see that the artists have used every possible inch of the gallery. Colors come from everywhere, and out of every material, including walls and found objects surrounding us: azure blues and bright reds and a very distinct yellow: a deep, saturated saffron with a tint of orange. All four rooms are covered from floor to ceiling with OSGEMEOS’s one-of-a-kind characters, like a yellow man wearing plaid pants and holding a ukulele in his hand while dancing to greet you right next to a small wooden bowl with an embedded key in it. Across from the bowl stands a man with his shining green turban standing inside a delirious vortex of purple and pink.
OSGEMEOS uses painting, drawing, collage, mixed-media, installations, and kinetic sculptures to create their world. if you follow your eyes, you are taken to the moon, stars, and other places you didn’t even know existed. And if you follow your ears, you’ll find yourself among singing walls and canvases, painted boom boxes playing hip hop, and life-size turntables; nearby, an out-of-service 6 train from a parallel universe awaits to whisk you away.
The Kiss (2015–2016), a full room installation, invites you in to walk inside a beating heart, and confronts you with a sculpture of two faces connected to each other under a full moon. The two kissers are joined by dreamlike machinery and musical instruments. Well, isn’t this how a kiss works in real life?
Osgemeos: Silence of the Music was on view at Lehmann Maupin in New York City from September 8th to October 22nd, 2016.