The Whimsical & Wonderful OSGEMEOS Exhibits ‘Cultivating Dreams’ at Lehmann Maupin

 

 

 

OSGEMEOS: Cultivado os Sonhos (Cultivating Dreams), 2023, Mixed media on MDF Board, 80.31 x 64.57 x 4.33 inches/204 x 164 x 11 cm. Image courtesy Lehmann Maupin

Lehmann Maupin is pleased to present Cultivating Dreams, the gallery’s sixth solo exhibition with OSGEMEOS, the renowned Brazilian artistic duo of twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo. Featuring 13 new paintings and a site-specific immersive installation, the exhibition invites us into the vast and magical landscape of Tritrez, a dreamworld invented by the artists and developed in their work over the past three decades. The intricate patterns and vibrant colors employed in the works in Cultivating Dreams invoke a multisensory joy that is characteristic of OSGEMEOS’ expansive oeuvre. The exhibition precedes the artists’ first US museum survey exhibition OSGEMEOS: Endless Story, on view at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden from September 29, 2024 to August 3, 2025 which is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, published by Rizzoli.

Best known for their signature figurative style, OSGEMEOS have created an entire universe of fantastical yellow characters rendered in thin outlines, enlarged faces, and simplified features. Yellow is significant because the artists often dream in a yellow hue; they explain, ”[yellow] has been a very spiritual color for us since we started drawing. When we were drawing at our mother’s house, the sun would come through the windows and the studio would become yellow. So we always found it mystical, peaceful, and harmonious.” OSGEMEOS have also incorporated found elements––sequins, sculptural framing elements, and LED lights––that serve to heighten the surreal quality and visual effect of their painterly scenes, constructing hybrid compositions that poetically blur distinctions between the body and architecture, geometry and landscape, public and private, reality and fiction.

Installation view, OSGEMEOS: Cultivating Dreams at Lehmann Maupin

OSGEMEOS began their careers during the 1980s at the height of the hip-hop movement and amidst the transgressive world of urban graffiti on the streets of their São Paulo neighborhood, Cambuci. This formative period for the artists serves as the inspiration for numerous works throughout the exhibition. In Hoje vai ter som! (There’ll be music today!) (2023), a solitary figure wearing futuristic razor glasses, a rainbow-colored shirt, floral pants, checkered sneakers, and a single glove stands next to his boombox in the middle of a city square. A dog with a matching bejeweled glove lays on his back in front of the boombox on a piece of cardboard as though caught mid-performance. Subtle, surreal elements reveal themselves upon closer inspection. The human figure appears to have a house emerging from the top of his head, and behind him is a sky of swirling pixelated color.

Installation view, OSGEMEOS: Cultivating Dreams at Lehmann Maupin

Each painting in Cultivating Dreams is marked by intricate, technicolor patterns that emulate the contours of the vivid dreams the artists have said that they often share as twins. Drawing on subject matter from the fields of astronomy, art history, and music, the works feature a range of characters, including a dream traveler, a rocket man, a moon goddess, and a venus. In A Vênus (The Venus) (2023), OSGEMEOS depicts a woman lounging comfortably in a giant scallop shell, dressed in a sequined purple turtleneck and bright green and yellow floral pants, casually holding a large pearl in her right hand. The work is reminiscent of Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus (1485), which depicts the goddess of love and beauty standing on a giant scallop shell with ivory skin glowing and her blonde hair flowing around her. Though not a direct response to Botticelli, OSGEMEOS’ Venus offers an updated depiction of the ubiquitous representations of the goddess. With her bluegreen hair slightly wet and windswept, the artists portray Venus as a hip woman who represents a far more expansive and contemporary depiction of beauty.

Installation view, OSGEMEOS: Cultivating Dreams at Lehmann Maupin

In two key works in the exhibition, The Moon (2023) and The Sun (2023), OSGEMEOS create sister altars for the sun and the moon. Each painting features a single figure, each of them framed within an architectural structure. The Moon depicts a woman wearing a headpiece that resembles the celestial object. Her floral purple and blue dress is adorned with a green bib and pendant that features a view of a house in a field and a lighthouse––a recurring motif. Her hands are crossed over the top of a planet surrounded by colorful rings, set against an ethereal, vibrant blue skyscape. In contrast, The Sun features a man wearing a sun headpiece, with striped red pants and a floral red and blue buttoned up shirt. Unlike the power, beauty, and grace of the Moon, the Sun stands sheepishly, arms dangling at his sides and toes turned inward.

In its unapologetic embrace of imaginative exploration and joyful expression, Cultivating Dreams resists didactic representation and literal interpretation. As described by Marina Isgro, “in their view, worldbuilding—whether it takes the form of participating in a subculture or visualizing the contours of Tritrez—is less about pure escapism than about creating a shared space for self-expression and human connection.” This exhibition exemplifies OSGEMEOS’ ability to create worlds, within worlds, within worlds, that nonetheless touch on a multitude of personal and global references. Like many of their exhibitions, Cultivating Dreams transforms the gallery space into a multi-layered experience designed to provoke the sense of awe and wonder encountered in a lucid dream state.

Cultivating Dreams is on view concurrent to Talk to Nature, an exhibition of new work by San Francisco-based artist Barry McGee, who has maintained a collaborative friendship with OSGEMEOS since the early 90s when they first met in Brazil. Together, the complimentary exhibitions present a microcosm of contemporary life.

OSGEMEOS: Cultivating Dreams will be on view to August 16, 2024 at Lehmann Maupin, 501 West 24th Street, NYC.

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