5 Sep – 4 Oct 2008
Brazil has been noted for its own unique internally developed form of graffiti, as well as tolerance, possibly even outright encouragement of street art. Some exponents are achieving world wide reputations and these shores have been blessed in the last few months buy a number of key exponents, latest being Titifreak.
Titifreak first came to wider notice in this country around just prior to Santas Ghetto 2006 thanks to PoW. He was around these parts a couple of months ago and dropped this shutter in Brick Lane which the shop owners are justifiably proud of, though it is believed this wasn’t done with permission.
O Contemporary have chosen a pure blockbuster to christen their new Soho London gallery, the headliner is Titifreak, supported downstairs by a mixture of other Brazilian and British painters and decorators (possibly other nationalities too). The Pichacao shop front signage is a neat touch.
Common forms for much of Titifreak’s work are portraits in bright vibrant colours but with blank and expressionless eyes.
These figures are not zombies, or emotionless beings. Quite the reverse, the emotions of these people are internal, not communicated thorough the eyes but exploding out through the colours and the distortions of the faces.
This works even with two superficially similar pieces, compare the hostility and aggression projected by the figures in Plural 2 above with the sullen hang-dog expression in Plural 1.
If you are looking for clues for new directions, several figures are shown with full bodies which is not that common in his work.
A Mulher do Pastel
Titifreak has worked in a broad range of mediums without loosing his unmistakeable style, such as (this is a shameless device to just stick up a whole bunch of Titifreak pics from the show):
Vivendo No Campo – tar, spraypaint on canvas
5 Min – spraypaint on canvas
Liberdade – spraypaint on wood
Illustration II – ink and spray on paper
There is even a couple (at least) of pieces described as Oil and Beeswax on canvas (no pictures) and a collection of what looked like paint or charcoal on small chopping boards.
A couple of intriguing pieces are suspended bottles with black spraypaint scratched to reveal a characteristic Titifreak silhouetted face. Although the pieces are quite small, factor in the lens effect and you get a lush magnified and fish-eye distorted image.
Uma Dose De
Uma Dose De (detail)
This piece below is probably the epic showstopper. A piece of this scale took Titifreak much longer than he usually spends on an individual painting, worth the time and effort obviously.
More photos of the Titifreak pieces can be seen on flickr here
I had wanted to say that the other O Contemporary stock artists could stand shoulder to shoulder with Titifreak without losing anything in the comparison but going through the Titifreak pics again you get overwhelmed by their accomplishment. This isn’t to say the downstairs is poor, it is also extremely good. Zezou is present, but there will be more about him hopefully after his opening tomorrow at Pure Evil’s gallery. The others which shouldn’t be overlooked include Daniel Melim, seen at the original Cans and working here with emulsion, spraypaint and stencil on canvas.
Daniel Melim – Passagem2
There are a couple of awesome pieces by Alexander Resende, this explosion of colour clearly merits its title “Genesis” (which isn’t a reference to a proggy old school rock band).
Alexander Resende – Genesis
Speto has a couple of pieces worked in acrylic, spraypaint and marker.
Speto – Corujinha
This is Flip using tempera on wood, join me in the dunces class if you thought that was something to do with sushi.
Flip – Ipe Negro
Brits on show included Gerald Laing, John Simpson plus others. No pics – arrived quite late at the show and having drooled over the Titifreak there wasn’t really time to point the pinhole at everything.