The collective was founded in October 2006 when the artists were commissioned to paint Post Bar, a trendy watering hole in the heart of Palermo Soho. The artists were given total creative freedom to design floor-to-ceiling murals throughout the bar, and in exchange for their work they were offered the use of part of the bar for their own personal project. Thus, Hollywood in Cambodia was born, becoming the first street art gallery in Buenos Aires run by its very own artists: the HIC Crüe.
What took shape through this unique indoor collaboration had originated in the streets where the artists had long been familiar with one another’s work. For years prior, they came across each other’s stencilled images and added their own to the same spaces in what became dynamic collaborative murals. A kind of dialogue developed through the city walls. There, none of the artists signed their contributions; all shared a fundamental belief in the importance of the collective and understood their role in service of a larger design. These were the roots of HIC Crüe and, to this day, when asked who their artwork is by, their answer is always “it was all of us”.
Dogma-Busting Doma Collective Puts On Playfully Dystopian Exhibition at CCR
The Buenos Aires team is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the arresting show Naturaleza Muerta, on until September 14th at Centro Cultural Recoleta.
The Doma duo, comprised of Julián Manzelli and Orilo Blandini, has done it again. Ever since its founding in 1998, Doma’s work has been about hijacking semiotics. Cleverly abrasive, they have criticized modern society by resignifying everything from traffic signs to confession booths and stuffed animals since their beginnings in the public realm. To this day, Doma insists on bulldozing the concept of corporate commercial politics as the “only possible way”, as they put it. This time around, they’ve adapted their analysis to the scourge du jour, putting big data, antidepressants, crossfit, and teenage prosumer porn under the magnifying glass.
“The setup of the exhibition can be seen like a main square, complete with its monument, tower, kids’ park and fountain. Our work has always been about bringing the exterior space indoors and taking the museum space out to the streets,” Julián Manzelli—aka Chu, one of the four original founders of Doma—explains.
In a thought-provoking yet approachable show comprised of 16 installations, Doma has composed a story that will carry you on a stroll through a 4-meter-deep coffin, down a red carpet AK47 shootout and have you exiting through guilt-cleaning car wash rollers. Naturaleza Muerta —“Still Life” in English—revisits hyper-consumerist society in a 2018 light. Screens have colonized our ecosystem, and Manzelli and Blandini dissect the mechanisms of a world that has evolved into existing solely through its representation: “Society, in its first contact with new technologies, is like an adolescent experimenting alcohol and drugs with no concept of moderation or understanding of their true potential”, they explain in the show’s accompanying booklet, a manifesto in itself.
The collaborative spirit
A team of around 40 contributors has participated in the show’s conception, bringing in their expertise on everything from electronics to plumbing, lathing, sculpting, pattern making, woodwork, metal and more. This collective and multifaceted spirit is an enduring characteristic of the creative duo’s body of work. “That has a lot to do with our origins as artists from FADU, which trains all-round design artists who can create a bit of everything, like a South American Bauhaus,” Manzelli points out, referring to his alma mater, the Architecture, Design and Urbanism School of the University of Buenos Aires.
The free creative spirit
Tacitly activist, critical but not pessimistic, interior and exterior, summarizing Doma’s 16-piece show, housed in the Cronopios room of Centro Cultural Recoleta, is a difficult task.
“We don’t care about tags. Doma has a foot here and there, we don’t belong to a precise category. You can see it as contemporary art, street art, visual arts, it’s all the same to us“, Manzelli replies when asked where the collective stands in the art nomenclature. Breaking the rules of representation and spatial environment, and planting questions rather than answers is what this group is about.
“We need to remove the mask from the ideology bombarded at us every day with every advertisement, every influence and object they want us to consume”, Doma states in the manifesto of Naturaleza Muerta. With this goal in mind, the collective is sure to be active for another 20 years.
For more Information on the show: The show can be visited Tuesday to Friday from 1.30 to 10pm. Sat, Sun and holidays from 11.15am to 10pm at Sala Cronopios, Centro Cultural Recoleta. Junín 1930, Buenos Aires. Free Admission
By Myriam Selhi
[INTERVIEW] DEFI GAGLIARDO and the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
Ahead of his upcoming solo exhibition, RAW, in Galeria UNION, we spoke to Defi Gagliardo about his new body of work, the influence of the past year and some of his exciting upcoming projects.
It’s always a good time for a show. But you don’t always get the results you expect, on a personal level anyway. In this particular expo I start a new stage, which I have been developing for a few years now.
RAW has to do with the aesthetic description of the work, the colors and composition, and the subtitle “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” is more conceptual; it encompasses a broader meaning than just this show and has to do, on a whole, with my career as an artist.
I have never really cared about the art world, it’s something I accidentally cross paths with. I think that’s part of my ignorance.
I think the relationship between my beginnings and my present is the constancy of movement. If you look at the chronology of my work from the first to the last, you will notice a slow but very marked change. There is conceptual change, a long process that goes from chaos to ordered chaos. The colors are contained, as are the shapes. Imagine the typical drawing of the creation of the continent where parts of the mass are separated, well, mine is the reverse.
Generally, music makes me think a lot. Out of that come ideas for my paintings or some other work. But the same thing happens to me when I paint as well. My music studio and my workshop are always close to each other, which allows me to go back and forth between the two.
As graphic designer I would say that Dadaism and Futurism had a strong impact on me. The vanguards, Malevich’s Suprematism. Nowadays some of my favorite artists are Lolo i Sosaku, Momo, Mark Jenkins, and Koen Delaere, among others.
The abstract works have developed alongside my years of work and research, it was a process, a lifestyle that led me to see the colors, shapes and composition in a different way. Abstract work seems easier to digest and live with every day. When I started painting around the year 2000, my paintings had a different vibe than they do now. They had another mood. They were pictures that you could hang in meeting rooms or museums, that is to say, people would look at them for a few minutes, they had a lot of presence, they generated tension. They were not paintings for houses, I realized that when I started with abstraction. The tension became more comfortable, I began to try to achieve a balance.
I started off with the cats, painting them on the street around 2000 also, and then I painted them in pictures. The cats never really left, they just took a break from the street, they were a little bit frightened of the trend and jumped into the fire.
My creative process has changed for this show, I started designing my pictures and not just spitting them out. I started to think from the white and not from the colour blocks. I learned how to handle the beast. It made me tackle the exhibition from another perspective, now I’m trying to achieve a show that isn’t visually loud but rather works in your head. Before I tried to make the work impactful on the first view, I put it right in front of the viewer, but now it’s something I try to incorporate into the work instead.
I began the year with a residency in Oqubo, Alicante for a month, in the middle of the country, and it was there that I began to define this new stage of work. It was totally experimental and unpretentious, and I let go of my old ideas. For two weeks I didn’t paint, I was just thinking and connecting with the beautiful place. In the last two weeks, I painted a series of canvases that were the real beginnings of this new phase. Once I got back to Buenos Aires, I started preparing an expo for the Chien Noir gallery. That’s where I started my new body of work.
I’m really excited to have left the city center of Buenos Aires, and that’s the most important thing about my new project, which will involve inviting people to my studio. Now I live out at a house in the province where I have my workshop, my music studio, and soon a small restaurant. I studied cooking at the same time as graphic design. And when I started to paint, I also began to produce music. So everything is related. I want to invite people to eat in my house, to cook for people and have them dine in my studio.
Catalogue of works by HIC Crüe
HIC Crüe is a legendary Argentine street art collective composed of BsAsStencil, Rundontwalk, Malatesta, Tester Mariano, y Stencil Land. Together they founded Hollywood in Cambodia, the only artist-run street art gallery in the country. Their new exhibition “Fuimos Todos” comes on the heels of the gallery’s tenth anniversary, and is an ode in practice to a decade of the group’s collaborative work on and off the streets.
“Fuimos Todos” is a celebration of the collective as a creative concept, something which captures a fundamental element of the nature of urban art. To prepare for this, their third group show, the artists converted their own gallery into a studio and undertook production as a cooperative process between all 6 members.
The entire collection is composed of images culled from archival material compiled by members of the group, including an eccentric mix of comic books and cooking periodicals, old magazines and advertisements. The resulting works are layered with nostalgic imagery, playful ad subversion and historic reference.
As part of the show, the artists created a mural in situ, depicting a solemn man standing with his back to a painted wall, facing a group of uniformed men lined up in a firing squad. The mural was inspired by an illustration by Carlos Vogt entitled “Un hombre llamado humanidad” (A man called humanity) from a comic published in 1975 the magazine Skorpio.
The exhibition features 34 artworks created with mixed media on wood, in small and medium formats. Download the full catalogue of artworks here.
We ship internationally. For inquiries write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also check out an interview we did with HIC Crüe on our blog here.
Photos by Catalina Romero
The magic is still intact: 10 years of Hollywood in Cambodia Crüe
We caught up with HIC Crüe in advance of their new exhibition “Fuimos Todos”, which is up at Gallery UNION from December 5 – February 3.
The collective behind the legendary street art gallery Hollywood in Cambodia, HIC is composed of BsAsStencil, Malatesta, RunDon’tWalk, Stencil Land and Tester Mariano. This exhibition comes on the heels of HIC´s 10th anniversary, and is an ode in practice to a decade of collaborative work.
“Fuimos Todos” is a celebration of the collective as a creative concept; something which captures a fundamental element of the nature of urban art, and the ethos at the very heart of this inimitable collective.
Malatesta: I feel like being part of HIC is like being in a band. You can go out to paint alone, no problem: I can have a guitar in my house and spend all day playing, putting the volume up to 11, jamming. But it’s totally different when you get together with your friend Tester who plays the bass, and your friend GG who plays the drums.
GG: It’s worse, because we all play the guitar. We get along because we do the same thing.
Malatesta: The individual acts in function of the group, which becomes a collective core of truth. All members share the same idea, the same tools; each has his own role but serves a larger design. Like a transformer.
GG: Painting like that makes you step outside of yourself, no matter whether what you’re doing is on the wall or on a canvas.
NN: It’s like the dissolution of an ego into a greater whole.
Tester: It’s because of the fact that it’s shared. It’s not like “I painted this, this is mine”.
Malatesta: It’s the same thing that happens when you paint in the street. Once you put it on a wall, it’s not yours anymore.
Talking through the walls
Malatesta: The great thing about us starting out was the spontaneity of the walls. I recognised their [other HIC members’] graffitis even before I met them in person.
Tester: We met through painting in different lapses of time; one person one night, another person another night. It was a truly collaborative way of working.
NN: Yes, that was the dialogue. There are some walls that I have a lot of affection for, for that reason, because of how they took shape over time. They were in constant development and later I found out that loads of people I know had painted there [where we all went]. It was cool how, seeing the walls, you could really feel the presence of the entire group of people that had created them.
Painting Outdoors vs. Indoors
NN: Before we knew each other we were already working together without knowing it. We were painting side by side, but at different moments, on walls in the street. That philosophy of doing something without covering over someone else’s work, which is so classic in graffiti, is what saved it from becoming typical. There is a Greek word, “palimpsest”, that refers to reusing the same surface over and over, thereby creating layers upon layers of writing. For me, it’s great to keep putting up new stuff in the street but it annoys me when those “time collages”, which I’m so fond of, get covered over.
GG: That’s how we started painting in the street, and that’s why, when we started painting indoors, we had a different relationship with the artwork from a person who, from day one, paints an artwork and sees it as sacred, untouchable. We’re used to the ways of the streets, so it’s common to paint on a wall one day and then the next see that a friend of yours has come along to paint something else.
Painting in anonymity
GG: Nowadays a lot of people paint to make a name for themselves. And if I were starting out today, maybe I would sign [my murals] to let people know that it was me who did it. But at the beginning it was about the game of going out to paint, not about painting to gain recognition. After all, what would have been the point of that? Who was going to recognise you? The other four people who painted with you? Today the recognition makes sense because you do exhibitions, you sell work, people fly you around to paint. But when we started painting there was none of that, so what was the purpose of knowing your name if there was no market for what you were doing?
Malatesta: What’s more, we were more afraid than anything else to sign our names.
GG: What do we think of making it to ten years? Here’s to ten more?!
Tester: No one considered having this space for ten years. I didn’t think we would last three months!
GG: The people that have come through and exhibited in HIC make you feel that they’re part of this in a way that’s bigger than just the six of us. And that’s good because that’s what we wanted it to be: Let the gallery be a place where everyone feels like they belong. It’s a place where the movement has happened rather than just the individual exhibitions of each artist. People appreciate us and they appreciate the space. And if we weren’t having fun, we wouldn’t do it, not for a second!
NN: You know the first thing we called ourselves when we opened was a “Gallery of Images” because we didn’t want to commit to “Urban Art”. Half of the artists invited to participate in the very first exhibition didn’t paint in the streets. It wasn’t required.
Tester: The space was always open and was never too orthodox. There are six of us and we have to agree, more or less. In turn, the space really belongs to everyone.
“It was all of us”
GG: HIC’s tenth anniversary just happened to coincide with the arrangement we had with UNION to do the show, and it was the perfect excuse to get us all together. I think the only thing that has changed since we met is that we’ve become better friends. We know each other better, we’re older, we’ve got bigger bellies. But that’s about it. We haven’t painted together for a long time (since the Toco Madera show in Kosovo gallery, 2012), but when we start painting together again you realize that it’s like riding a bike.
Malatesta: The magic is still intact.
GG: While the creative process is the same, perhaps what has changed is that everyone now has developed their own style. We already know who to count on for specific things, in terms of composition or colors, and at the end you just go on blind faith. There’s also a shared background: We’ve done a lot of things that have always, in our opinion, gone well. I can get angry and start kicking, but I fully trust these guys.
Tester: The important thing is that we are 6 guys who think differently but …it comes together into something good, and that’s fun for us.
GG: What happens with us as a group is that we don’t overthink things. We don’t look forwards or backwards. I think that’s why we’ve lasted so long. It’s always been day to day, show to show, and almost without realising it, and without planning it, we got to where we are.
Malatesta: The best way to celebrate is by painting together.
NN: Any excuse to get together is good for us.
GG: We have stayed tied to the mast. One of the things that I like most is that after ten years we’re still doing everything like we did the very first day.
NN: We haven’t learned anything!
Catalogue of Artworks by Pedro Perelman
“Origen” is the new exhibition by Pedro Perelman in UNION Gallery. This new collection features small and medium-format original artworks on canvas and in wood sculpture. In Origen Perelman transcends the ethnic diversities of his protagonists to look deeper into his origins as an artist. This exhibition represents one more step in the artist’s multi-faceted creative career, which has taken shape over the last 15 years.
Pedro Perelman is a member of FASE, a multi-disciplinary art, music and design collective which formed in Buenos Aires in 2000. Working with other artists, they pioneered the city’s street art scene.
Perelman’s works, from large-scale murals to smaller format gallery works, are marked by their experimental character and graphic quality and display a careful balance between organic and geometric forms.
The exhibition is on display in UNION Gallery until November 21st.
Be sure to check out the interview we did with the artist, where he talks about the inspiration for his latest works, his journey as an artist and his passion for teaching.
View and download the full catalogue of artworks from Origen here.
We ship internationally. For inquiries write to us at email@example.com
Photos: Catalina Romero
Interview with Pedro Perelman
We spoke with Pedro Perelman ahead of his new exhibition “Origen”, which opens Friday September 30th in UNION Gallery. In a collection which includes over 15 original paintings and wood sculpture, the artist transcends the diversities and ethnicities of the characters that typify his work, in order to investigate his origins as an artist.
Origen is the title of this exhibition because, beyond the features, ethnicities and diversities of people, and the situations that make up my own universe, it’s really about a personal search for my origin as an artist. Origin and the desire to paint meld together for me. The origin and the path of the visual artistic flow that discovers forms and changes, that lack an academic framework, and instead become part of history purely through work and effort.
I never studied drawing or art and I think that not having the baggage that comes along with an academic background has helped me to lighten up when I’m in the process of producing work. My studies in design gave me plenty of tools to work with which I used later on in painting, but my involvement with art came mostly thanks to my father, who comes from an artistic background and surrounded me with visual stimulus, friends’ artist studios, museums, paper and pencils.
I created my first murals in the public space during a really complex time in the country, that I lived through with a lot of anxiety. Even if this isn’t reflected explicitly in my work, it is manifested in the very attitude inherent in the act of going out to paint, as if the context was a trigger, or the initiator of a kind of chain reaction. But my reaction was from an almost optimistic frame of mind. I sought out the impact of color and forms as a remedy for the rawness of the gray.
Art is and will always be a disposable good, and in a country with continuous crisis and instability, the effect in this arena is immediately evident. I also think that the art scene needs to be updated; we need new visions for new times, new ways of handling artwork, projects, and institutional support. The scene is in need of a more broad legitimization. On the other hand, there are plenty of local artists who are very well positioned on a global level, and that’s entirely thanks to their own merit.
As time goes by I’ve discovered various different artistic styles, but I’m restless and I find myself in constant search of another, or believing that I have none at all. I’ve matured in my way of looking at and thinking about art and with the passage of time I’ve seen that from my classic, graphic beginnings, in which the pictorial aspect was almost completely absent, I became friendly with light, shadow and details, while I also began to combine techniques. I explored from the most synthetic elements to the figurative, and utilized a combination of resources from design.
The context drastically changes the form and length of production time of an artwork. In the studio the time-frame is different; there are no fixed hours, and no influence from weather or other external factors. When you paint in the street there’s adrenaline that comes with scale, people, reactions, commentary, and physical work. In that context there’s a better optimization of time. From the perspective of technical and concrete aspects of the work, however, the processes of each space are quite similar.
2016 has been a very productive and intense year and I’m very focused on the project Ruta de Murales. Together with Poeta and Lion, we’ve painted in many different provinces across Argentina, given workshops, and generally exchanged knowledge with a lot of people. It’s been a fantastic experience together with Montana and Sinteplast, and it’s headed for a second chapter in the South of the country starting in October.
I really enjoy teaching, and my years at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) have helped me a lot. For example, my previous experience teaching has definitely influenced the development of the workshops we’re doing as part of Ruta de Murales. It’s very gratifying for me to transmit enthusiasm and strength, and no matter the context, I always end up feeling like I am the one who’s really learning. Beyond the roles you have to play, large groups guarantee a lot of ideas and energy.
In my life music and painting feed into one another constantly: I think about sounds and I hear colors, and I think that the compositional criteria and creative processes of both worlds are quite similar. Together with a couple of musician and artist friends we have formed Kermesse, and this year we’re travelling to Mexico to present our new live electronic music (house) show. At the same time I think that they’re social universes which are very different but which create a healthy balance for me: music and painting are like night and day.
Catalogue of Artworks by Christian Riffel (Poeta)
“Ver sólo se aprende Mirando” (You only learn to see by looking) is the new exhibition by Christian Riffel aka Poeta in UNION Gallery. Populating the space with drawings, paintings, videos and installations, the artist invites us to rethink our way of seeing.
In this unique solo show we get a glimpse into Riffel’s internal processes and artistic trajectory. With delicate pieces in watercolour and ink we see the genesis of an idea or mural. In refined pastel canvases we’re confronted with a more subtle version of the artist’s abstract geometric muralism. The installations and sculpture provide hints as to the artist’s current musings and future directions.
The exhibition features more than 25 original artworks, and is curated by Pablo Frezza, graduate of art administration and curatorship who specializes in geometric and concrete art of Argentina.
View and download the full catalogue of artworks here.
We ship internationally. For inquiries write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure to check out the interview we did with the artist here.
Images by Catalina Romero
Artist Jorge Pomar (Amor) takes to the streets in Poland
Jorge Pomar aka Amor recently did an epic new piece at the Monumental Art Festival in Gdansk, Poland.
Entitled “Schody do słońca”, which means “Stairway to the Sun”, the piece represents another step in the artist’s examination of international crisis and warfare through the lenses of vexillology (the study of flags), geometry and the study of color.
The design for the piece is composed of 20 different flags which contain the sun as element in their design, which are piled up to represent countries united, leading to a clear pathway up to the symbol of the sun.
The mural was painted on the side of a building which was once home to Lech Wałęsa, the leader of the “Solidarity” movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Price in 1983, and first president to Poland after the fall of communist regime (1990 – 1995).
Countries featured are: Tibet, Nepal, Argentina, Moldova, Malasia, Philippines, Kiribati, Mongolia, Australian Aboriginal Flag, Japan, Bangladesh, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Niger, Antigua and Barbuda, Malawi, Macedonia, Rwanda and finally Poland.
Be sure to check out the interview we did recently with Amor here.
Images courtesy of the artist.
graffitimundo Interviews Poeta Ahead of His New Exhibition
We spoke with Christian Riffel aka Poeta ahead of his exhibition “A Ver Sólo se Aprende Mirando” (“You Only Learn to See by Looking”) which opens at UNION Gallery on Friday July 29th. The exhibition features more than 15 original artworks, including canvases, drawings, sculptures and a video installation, and is curated by Pablo Frezza, graduate of art administration and curatorship who specializes in geometric and concrete art of Argentina.
Art came about by itself, when I realised it was the alchemist that helped me to deal with and overcome situations that I went through in my adolescence. It was with graffiti that I developed my passion for painting. I started going out with friends in 1999 in Villa Ballester, in Buenos Aires province. At that time there were loads of walls, and there were very few people out painting. After a while I met some artists (Roma & Debo), with whom I painted for several years.
I think the personality of an artist is shaped by the difficulties that arise throughout the creative process. The process is like any other; where you focus on acquiring the discipline to work and on developing self-confidence, while you spend as much time as possible with the tool you’ve chosen.
I wanted to start composing a work that expressed my feelings, without the use of a figure or object, and that was how I decided to explore form, colour, and geometry. I had been painting human figures and objects for ten years when my work began to mutate into amorphous works. At the time I felt it was wise to start developing a plastic language, and that in turn demanded an intellectual practice. Since then it has evolved from the plastic to the theoretical.
I refine my ideas every day, the materiality changes, its opacity or light and its beautiful shadows appear. I have been painting geometric works for six years and the evolution I have experienced in the process is really rewarding. Right now I’m interested in bringing all of my ideas together and drawing on multiple processes in the creation of my works.
Working with sculpture has helped me to develop my artistic language. My work, although flat, uses depth and perspective that simulate a spatial effect, or a construction. Sculpture has given me new ways in which to examine my work. It inspires me to keep moving, increase my knowledge and tools and to delve into things I’m unfamiliar with in order to reinvent myself.
Being an artist who paints in the street and in the studio creates a symbiosis where one situation feeds into the other. Sometimes things that happen in the street inspire me in my studio work, or I discover something that I have applied in the studio that I can use in a mural. The two processes are different in terms of format, and you can develop more delicate works or use other mediums and techniques in the studio, for example.
I see a bright future for urban art in Buenos Aires because of the vocation and quality of artists that Argentina has. Hopefully the contemporary art circuit, both the institutions and the galleries, will stop disregarding urban artists, as I think this is the change which is lacking in the scene.
In the exhibition “You Only Learn to See by Looking”, I’m applying new artistic languages that I’ve developed over the last few years. In this collection I’ve utilized diverse techniques in the creation of the pieces. I’m inspired by a problem I see; of how people seem to look but don’t really see. It seems to me that we see and become familiar with one another through a sort of screen, which dictates to us what we see. I’m interested in having people observe and experience these new pieces in a deliberate and active way. I’d like them to be sensitized by the show and to question how they see or what they look at on a daily basis.