PichiAvo Pushes the Boundaries of their Urbanmythology Style with New Solo Exhibition and Graffiti-Covered Greek Statue
Art center Centro del Carmen in Valencia, Spain is currently hosting Evreka, a large solo exhibition by local artist duo PichiAvo (previously). Through this landmark showcase, the artists present their renowned Urbanmythology style that blends the dynamics, immediacy, and uncompromising attitude of graffiti along with the traditional quality and timeless appearance of ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Dominated by a massive sliced and tagged Greek pillar, the immersive installation features ten new paintings, nine sculptures, and an outdoor monument to the local graffiti scene.
Along with the explosion of colors and graffiti elements on top of traditional Greek iconography, one of the main parts of the show is the “Reflectory room” in which the works are experienced through a mirror. The artists wanted to recreate the accidental and often concealed discovery of graffiti or street art in real life. Eight out of ten paintings exhibited in the show are presented through this concept. Sculptural pieces are scattered around them, with their biggest studio piece, a 40-foot-long column inspired by the temple of Zeus in Athens, laying through the length of the room.
All of the works in the show, except for the column, have been created especially for the show and are related to the Falles monument that they are currently finishing. Fallas de València is a traditional celebration held every year in commemoration of Saint Joseph, and it includes the year-long building and eventual burning of large-scale public statues. The peak of the event takes place around midnight on March 19, when around 400 Falles are burnt as huge bonfires through the city of Valencia.
Following the success of their friend Okuda San Miguel, who was invited by the Falles Festival in 2018 to build the Falla Mayor (previously), the art duo started working on their own statue right after the burning of last year’s works. Pichi & Avo partnered with the local Falles artisan firm Latorre y Sanz to execute the incredibly large-scale piece. Unlike previous years when artisans used mostly foam as a building material, this year’s sculptures are made from wood and cardboard, making the work more flammable and less pollutant.
PichiAvo’s Falles statue is set to be finished on March 15, 2019, along with the others included in the Falles Festival, and will be burned in a big celebration on March 19, 2019. Evreka will be on view at the Centro del Carmen in Valencia until May 5, 2019 and a show dedicated to PichiAvo’s limited editions will be on view at Plastic Murs gallery between March 7 and April 19, 2019. You can see more of the artists’ previous works on their website and Instagram.
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Dutch fashion designer Iris Van Herpen (previously) blends cutting-edge technology and classic motifs in her thought-provoking garments. Van Herpen’s most recent collection, Shift Souls, was showcased at Paris Fashion Week, and featured dresses that play with structure and color to blur the boundaries between fashion, technology, and art.
In a statement on the brand’s website about the collection, Van Herpen explains that she was inspired by the fluidity of identity change in myths, particularly from Japan. The stories “gave me the inspiration to explore the deeper meaning of identity and how immaterial and mutable it can become within the current coalescence of our digital bodies.”
Many of the pieces in Shift Souls were created using laser cut fabric pieces to form abstracted birds and human faces, emphasizing the designer’s interest in the mutability of the human figure. Van Herpen also collaborated with artist Kim Keever to design fabric patterns based on his liquid color cloud photographs, as shown in the blue dresses below.
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In Noche Antigua (Ancient Night) an opossum and a rabbit work together—and against each other—to create and maintain the sun and the moon. The book, written in Spanish and illustrated by Mexico-based artist David Álvarez (previously) is based on elements from ancient myths in several Central American cultures. Álvarez captures a sense of quiet magic with the simplified forms and hushed tones of his illustrations, which seem to glow from the illumination of the moon. You can see more of the artist’s work on Instagram and his Etsy shop, and find a hardcover copy of Noche Antigua on Amazon.
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Chain mail, needles, and dishwashing gloves: though not the materials you’d expect a dress to be made from, British artist Susie MacMurray uses them in her garment-inspired sculptures. MacMurray’s first piece in this body of work was Gladrags, made in 2002 from 10,000 pink balloons. Since then, the artist has produced several other seemingly wearable sculptures including Medusa (copper chain mail), Widow (leather and 100,000 dressmaker needles), and A Mixture of Frailties (1,400 household gloves).
“They have all been more concerned with the perception of women, their power and their vulnerabilities,” she explains to Colossal. “I am interested in how human strengths and frailties can often be one and the same thing. I suppose you could almost call them portraits… Much of my sculpture and drawing practice is concerned in one way or another with the perception and negotiation of female identity, both internal and external.”
MacMurray was formerly a classical musician, and she retrained as an artist, graduating in 2001 with an MA in Fine Art. In addition to her garment sculptures, MacMurray also creates drawings and architectural installations. You can see more of her work on her website and Twitter. (via #WomensArt)
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Glass artist Janis Miltenberger draws on the roles of mythology and storytelling as attempts to explain our experience of the world to build complex glass sculptures. Her work often takes the shape of recognizable objects, like human figures and chairs, which are then filled with incredible detail. The artist uses borosilicate glass, and enhanced with glass colors, gold luster, sandblasting, and oil paint.
Miltenberger shares with Colossal that she was originally drawn to ceramics, and discovered glassblowing in college, where she apprenticed with Richard Marquis. Many years later, she was introduced to lampworking, which is her preferred technique today. She explains, “working alone with a torch was more personal and I don’t think I was quite as aware at that point how I needed that space set apart to focus and identify my ideas and voice.”
The artist’s most recent series, “Doctrine of Signatures,” is based on The Signature of All Things, a 17th century book by Jakob Boehme which detailed the commonly-held belief that the outward appearance of a plant reflected its medicinal value. She is currently working on a large installation that moves away from her decorative style. In fall 2018, Miltenberger will be teaching in Niijima, Japan, and her work will be shown at the Bellevue Art Museum in Washington state. (via Lustik)
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Although Pichi & Avo (previously here and here) have continued to focus on their signature style of classic Greek gods and mythology intermixed with graffiti writing, their works have now migrated off the wall and onto the canvas. The duo still produces stories-high murals, like the two they contributed to the Puerto Street Art Festival in late 2015, but have also began to incorporate their work into a gallery setting. This past December they presented two acrylic and aerosol canvases at SCOPE art fair with C.A.V.E. Gallery, each appearing like a cross-section of one of their larger wall murals.
The two are also in a group exhibition titled “Rough Cast” currently at Colab Gallery in Germany through May 7, 2016. You can see more of Pichi & Avo’s murals from across the world on their Instagram. (via StreetArtNews)
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Ai Weiwei’s Suspended Bamboo and Silk Beasts Highlight Ancient Chinese Mythology Inside a Paris Department Store
Ai Weiwei‘s (previously here and here) first exhibition in France is not staged at the Centre Pompidou nor the Palais de Tokyo, but within Paris’s Le Bon Marché, the city’s oldest department store founded in 1852. At its center the exhibition includes 20 illuminated silk and bamboo creatures that float above the cosmetics department, a contradiction of subject matter that Ai embraces as he allows the two vastly different worlds to collide momentarily during his store-bound exhibition.
The show, titled “Er Xi” or “Child’s Play,” is in many ways tied to the artist’s family and childhood. His father, the Chinese poet Ai Qing, passed on stories to Ai of his time spent living and studying art in Paris in the 30s. Thinking about his father’s history within the city, Ai also contemplated his own background with the art of kite making, enlisting 12 kite makers from the Shandong Province in China to build the sculptures from similar materials he used to make his first kite at the age of ten.
In addition to these hanging sculptures, Ai also installed work in the department store’s front windows and throughout the store, including a 65-foot dragon on Le Bon Marché’s ground floor. Weaving together 2D and 3D works, Ai illuminate’s the mythology found in the 2,000 year-old “Shan Hai Jing” (Classic of Mountains and Seas), a series of traditional Chinese children’s fables that reference birds, fish, and dragons.
“Introducing the fantastic within a retail space strikes the imagination of customers, visitors, passersby,” said Ai in a statement. “We all lead parallel lives in this other world of dreams, fantasies and feats. We must learn to coexist with them as they are an integral part of our humanity; to embrace our mythology. Children know how to do this naturally. This exhibition speaks to our inner child,” the artist said in a statement.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.