The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Osgemeos invites visitors to their dream, ‘You Are My Guest’

Brazilian graffiti artist duo’s ‘You Are My Guest’ shows wide range of works that marry traditional culture of Brazil and pop culture

By Park Yuna

Published : Aug. 17, 2020 - 15:59

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Osgemeos pose in front of their graffiti works. (Courtesy of artists and Lehmann Maupin) Osgemeos pose in front of their graffiti works. (Courtesy of artists and Lehmann Maupin)

Meaning “The Twins” in Portuguese, Osgemeos is a Brazilian artist duo and brothers, Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, whose graffiti works are internationally renowned. Having started out as graffiti artists, their art world of fantasies and dreams now encompasses paintings, video art and sculptures.

At the pair’s first solo exhibition in Korea, “Osgemeos: You Are My Guest,” the artist duo invites visitors to their world dream.

Upon entering the exhibition hall, “The Souls,” looking like yellow water drops with the artists’ signature yellow faces with expressions, comes into sight as if the artwork were guiding visitors through the artists’ shared dream. 

Installation view of the exhibition “OSGEMEOS: You Are My Guest” in Seoul (Hyundai Card) Installation view of the exhibition “OSGEMEOS: You Are My Guest” in Seoul (Hyundai Card)

“We tried to awaken the visitor’s imagination proposing total freedom to imagine what they want,” the artists told The Korea Herald in an email interview. The artists had planned to visit Seoul for the exhibition, but the COVID-19 pandemic hindered the plan.

The artists began their career in the 1980s as graffiti artists in the Cambuci neighborhood in the central area of Sao Paulo, graffiti came naturally to the twin brothers growing up, absorbing the explosive energy of hip-hop, breakdancing and youth culture.

“Sao Paulo, the largest metropolis in Brazil, is the city where all possibilities are found, from positive to negative and from light to dark. We grew up within a diversity of ethnicities and naturally we were influenced by different cultures,” Osgemeos said. “We believe in popular language. Graffiti was the way we found to talk to the city.”

“It (graffiti) affects people who like it and those who don’t. From the moment that art is on the street, it influences people passing there. The aim of painting on the street is to break the rules imposed by the system and make people dream,” the artist duo added.

Although Osgemeos is famous with graffiti works, the artist duo’s art world has developed into different art genres. The work “Thinking,” which consists of 134 antique objects, is the artist duo’s private collection, with some of the objects coming from artists the two admire, Osgemeos said.

Decorated in their signature painting styles, the collection shows a combination of Brazilian culture and the pop culture of the 1980s and ’90s.

The twins’ painting style featuring yellow faces in colorful outfits and intricate patterns is the result of their study over many years, since they were only 4 years old.

The color yellow was inspired by the sun that penetrated through the window in a small room in the studio the twins shared in their mother’s house when they were young, according to Osgemeos. 

"My Lime Orange Tree” by Osgemeos (Hyundai Card)

Their mother has been a great motivation for the twins, encouraging them to paint. The exhibition includes “The Valley of the Sacred Mountain,” on which the artist duo collaborated with their mother.

“When we got older, we noticed that her desire was to also make art and then we encouraged her,” said the twins. 

Music has been an important source for the artist as well. Many of the figures in colorful outfits appear playing instruments such as the guitar. The twins see their love for music as having begun even before their birth.

“Our relationship with music started when we were still in our mother’s womb, hearing the sound aligned of the three hearts. We grew up in a family where music had a great importance,” the artist duo said.

Having worked together since they were little, the two continue to inspire each other. Asked whether there were times when they disagreed on a specific project or artistic expression, they answered, “We don’t know what it is like, and we will never know.”

“We have worked together since before we were born, and we came to this world to accomplish this mission,” the twins added.

The exhibition runs through Oct. 11 at the Storage by Hyundai Card venue in Yongsan, central Seoul. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visitors are required to make a reservation through the Hyundai Card DIVE app and Melon Ticket.

By Park Yuna (