Encompassing a rich panoply of styles and visual languages, “From the World, Made in Lisboa” gathers a group of artists of various nationalities who have been developing their practice in an articulation between the public space and the exhibition space. Inspired by the material and immaterial reality that gives shape to our urban societies in the present global context, these artists share an approach with a universal reach that has seen them, each in his own way, create work in countless cities around the world, united by the objective of spreading their message and their artistic vision. A pattern of interaction with spaces and people on a global scale which saw all of them, at different times, visit Lisbon and produce work – exhibitions, interventions in the public space, and art editions – in proximity with the city and its public, perfectly mirroring Underdogs’ purpose and mission.
Diverse and heterogenous, expressing different interests, concerns, and objectives, the universe of authorial visions presented here also contains elements that are transversal and/or tangential to the work of several of these artists. André Saraiva and Ernest Zacharevic, for instance, despite the stylistic differences, share a similar interest in establishing a fun and playful, poetic and passionate interaction with the city and the viewer. Clemens Behr and Olivier Kosta-Théfaine, notwithstanding the conceptual and formal differences that separate them, share a vision that leads them to work directly with elements the city discards or ignores – appropriating, reusing, or reinterpreting them in order to translate their abstract quality into new aesthetic arrangements and contexts. Imprinting a new interpretation onto timeless subjects, blending elements of a classic, contemporary and/or popular nature, the oeuvres of the collectives Cyrcle and PichiAvo explore, each through their own perspective, the rebelliousness of the creative act, establishing a dialoguing combination between different referents that gives rise to an entirely new visual landscape.
Also playing with a very personal reinterpretation of iconic elements, compositions, and subjects from popular culture and the history of art, Anthony Lister subverts and imprints his own referents onto topics such as identity, culture, mythology, heritage, parenting, and stereotypes. In spite of the formal differences, a similar interest – equally imbued with rebelliousness and poetic charm – in the roots of his personal and cultural identity is shared by Finok, whose practice has been focused on exploring the popular elements that give shape to the miscegenated, multicultural character of his native country, Brazil. Albeit with a manifestly political slant, the artists Okuda San Miguel and Shepard Fairey have also been working with iconic elements from popular culture with a global presence, especially those of American origin. Regardless of the difference in languages, the two artists share a critical and interested approach that seeks to analyse and point out the social and institutional brutality of capitalism affecting the human condition today in its global dimension. If WK Interact also shares this interest in the present human condition, composing short narratives on those who inhabit the present and the past of our urban spaces through a refined and bold black-and-white graphic language, he also shares with Felipe Pantone an interest in the capture of movement, in the impacting interaction between the work of art and the viewer. Additionally playing with our perception and visual acuity, the work of the latter elevates us from the grey space of the contemporary global city to an ultra-modern vision of the future, brimming with chromatic vibrations and informational interactivity.
Gathering, thus, visions of the future, the past, and the present, reflecting the transnational character of these various practices, “From the World, Made in Lisboa” is a sample of the state of urban-inspired contemporary art in the global era. From the world to Lisbon. From Lisbon to the universe.
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