Border crossing: Urban art, from the street to the gallery

Last month, Gachi Prieto Gallery exhibited“Instantes” by artists Defi (Gustavo Gagliardo) and Pedro (Pedro Perelman). The contemporary art gallery in the heart of Palermo has cultivated a fruitful relationship with urban artists since the gallery’s first landmark show of street art in 2009. At that time, it was one of the first commercial art galleries to open its walls to this kind of artwork.

Many of the talented street artists of Buenos Aires have honed their craft for well over a decade, and it shows. Artists boast an incredible skill set in a wide range of mediums and have well developed and distinct personal artistic styles. What for some started out as a hobby of interacting with the streets through art and intervention, has evolved over the years into a passion that knows no limits.

However, even for artists with incredible skill, talent, and experience, it can be difficult to find the point of crossover into the contemporary art world. Defi and Pedro, however, have found their way comfortably into the gallery setting and seem to fit right in. Their art maintains something of the vibrant and unpredictable nature of the urban context that has so inspired them, even when hung on spartan white walls.

The works by these two artists, who have formed the collective FASE together with artist Tec since the late 1990’s, have always worked well together. In the gallery the works by both artists are displayed in a boisterous mixture, spread across the gallery walls in an eclectic display of painted works on canvas and wood, works with mixed media, and sculpture boxes.

Pedro’s works feature his unique cast of iconic characters, at times in isolated snapshots and at times busy playing various archetypical roles on the stage of his detailed symbolic worlds. Defi’s works range from explosive abstract and highly gestural paintings to his minute magical universes constructed with stunning detail inside glass front boxes.

Whether works are created on street walls or on canvas, both artists continue to meditate on themes inspired by the heartbeat and character of the surrounding city and the nature of life in the urban context.