The exhibition SOMA, first show by duo MUSEUL*RA at the gallery, curated by Spanish Angel Calvo Ulloa, brings together new works, including paintings and installations, produced from the unique partnership between the artists Rodrigo Andrade and Link Museu, two historical figures in institutional and urban arts.
The materiality of paint and references to the history of painting permeate the work of Rodrigo Andrade since the 1980s. In those first years, the artist produced large-format works in line with the aesthetics of neo-expressionism. In the decade that followed, he alternated between figurative and abstract works and, starting in 1999, began creating works in which thick layers of oil paint in geometric forms are applied to the canvas. Andrade also installed his paintings in public spaces in São Paulo, including Lanches Alvorada (2001), and it is in the contact with these environments that his power resides: in the permeability between the concentration and containment of the elements present in the artist's works and in the environments in which they were installed.
On the other side, urban artist and poet Link Museu, has been sticking the MUSEU symbol (created in 1989) to the walls of buildings in different regions of the city of São Paulo for over 20 years. Drawing and pixação prevail as uninterrupted experimentations in the life of the artist, who incorporated and transformed the standards of the Pixo language in the city's urban landscape. From studies on paper pasted onto bedroom walls, to the unfolding of painting on street walls, Link Museu's work instigates and creates tension in the gazes of passersby in an urban aesthetic that narrates its own story. Leading the pixo collective MUSEU, he was a pioneer in reinventing new tagging styles, from the original pixação lettering to other techniques, including grapixo, installation and oil painting.
Andrade and Link Museu met at the end of 2019. The basis for the encounter was the soiree Luau dos Loucos, a creative space in the neighborhood of Cidade Tiradentes, located on the far east side of the city, created by Link and other residents to experience poetry and art in a festive, everyday manner. That year, the duo produced and exhibited works at Galeria Reoccus, in the Bela Vista neighborhood, and organized painting events, including Cohab Fazenda do Carmo, in December.
In parallel, several actions were also developed for another collective project that contributed to bringing the artists closer: ALI (Arte Livre Itinerante), which was created at the end of 2018 in view of the tense political scenario in the country, with the aim of exploring the power arising from the junction between artists from the city center and from the periphery, especially from Cidade Tiradentes. In addition to Andrade and Link Museu, the group is currently formed by artists Ana Prata, André Komatsu, Ding Musa, Leandro Muniz, Lucia Koch, Marcelo Zocchio, Marta Nehring, Sara Ramo, Evandro Cesar, Tom Guerra, Nathalia Aguilera, Sindy Paloma , William Ferreira, Faemyna, Leticia Caroline, Laura Melo, Lucas Lins, Yanra Lalleska, Ana Kia, Cleber Big, Euller de Carvalho, Lua Porto, Danilo Lago, Hiago Bezerra, Iasmin dos Santos, Thiago Thibor, Isabel Barboza, Malcom Rodrigues, among several others.
From the fruitful and active collaboration between Luau dos Loucos and ALI, as well as Instituto du Gueto, emerges Ateliê Um Bom Lugar, consolidating itself as one of ALI's main spaces of activity. For Spanish curator Angel Calvo Ulloa—responsible for the curatorship of the exhibition at Galeria Millan— ALI's actions are an example of "a collective desire to shed light on how to act artistically and politically in everyday life."
According to Andrade, the group “is a social project that arises from the cooperation between artists of different social classes and which is carried out as a symbolic elaboration. My partnership with Link is almost proof that the concept worked: we were born precisely from that sum.”
MUSEUL*RA is the result of a combination of different contrasts resulting from the trajectories of both artists. Not so common in art history, painting by four hands is taken here to completely new parameters, in which two extensive repertoires linked to paint merge on canvases and walls to give birth to a new artistic, political, affective and cultural experiment. The works carried out by the duo present the relationship between the word and the formation of the image. If the word "museum" refers to the space of institutionalization of the arts par excellence, this same word, once projected onto city walls and, more recently, canvases, comes to mean exactly the opposite: it brings that which is external, which is out in the open, subject to weather conditions and daily changes.
The word also plays a central role in technique. The process of overlapping and the game of coexistence between the brushstrokes of Link Museu and Andrade return to the frequent juxtapositions and superimpositions of tags painted on the city walls. On them, as well as on canvases and cards, MUSEUL*RA's paints produce a lively dialogue from the crossing of interventions that, nevertheless, remain distinct from one another, leaving visible the image-making process. For Calvo Ulloa, Soma celebrates painting and documents his work, inside and outside the exhibition space.