The long-awaited art attaque
São Paulo’s punkest gallery comes to London. And about time, too.
You’ve two ways to live the definitive São Paulo experience this month. Step one: partake in a giant traffic jam courtesy of TFL tube strikes; step two, a far more pleasant alternative: grab a Boris Bike and go take in a bit of CULTURESHOCK – a fortnight-long showcase of some of the world’s greatest street art talent via a gallery hook-up between London’s East end Pure Evil and São Paulo’s notorious Choque Cultural.
The collaboration is the long-awaited vision of Pure Evil (Charley Uzzell Edwards) himself and, despite previous (ahem Arts Council) set-backs, the passionate ‘grassroots punk’ aesthetic of the two galleries makes them natural bed-buddies for exhibiting and promoting urban art forms of this ilk. In fact, Choque’s reputation for encouraging artists in Brasil has made it somewhat legendary within the ‘outsider art’ sphere – garnering international recognition and at times domestic retribution, (including a Pixadore attack in 2008), but Choque are, in their own words, not followers of other galleries’ models: “we are walking our own way to do what we believe in”.
Coming over for the event as well as Moniker, the UK’s first Urban Art fair this month, will be one of the genre’s most prolific writers, Titi Freak (picture above), whilst the exhibition also brings work by the likes of Speto, Carlos Dias, Daniel Melim, MZK, Nove, Pjota, Presto, and iconic sewer-stylist Zezão (below). Given both cities’ mutual affection for street art it’s sure to be a highlight of the social calendar. As Charlie points out, “places like São Paulo and London are stressful and hectic but both use art as a way to counter that, [and after a two-year wait] it’s great to finally be able to bring these artists over and make a big deal of it”.
Choque Cultural: A bit of history
São Paulo’s Choque Cultural made a name for itself by shining a light on a group of Brasilian artists – including OsGemeos, Titi Freak and Vitché – who have gone on to become some of the biggest names in the global graffiti game. Since 2004, its owners have never dropped their dedication to the cause, even after local ‘pixadores’ staged an invasion to protest the commercialisation of ‘street art’. Which is why Choque’s London debut makes for an unmissable chance to check out one of the world’s most controversial and influential art galleries.
By Sasha Stephenson
CULTURESHOCK @ Pure Evil