At the Wunderkammern Gallery in Milan comes the exhibition Diaspasis by the street artist duo PichiAvo, opening on 20 September. The two Valencian artists are known for their style that fuses graffiti and classical art. Curated by Giuseppe Pizzuto, the exhibition represents the evolution of PichiAvo’s art, which, along with aesthetic exploration, now focuses on an investigation into the potential of materials while embracing the explosive use of colours. ‘Diaspasis‘, a Greek word meaning ‘separation’, describes the technique the duo began exploring two years ago. The PichiAvo paint their subjects with spray paint, acrylics and oil on plasterboard panels, which they then break into multiple fragments. The exhibition will feature more than thirty works, including sketches on paper and paintings on plasterboard, all with irregular edges meticulously crafted by the artists, almost like sculptures, often framing detailed subjects seen and photographed around the world. We met with them to find out more.
«Each work is designed to stand alone or, in some cases, be part of a diptych or triptych,» the two young artists explain. While they draw inspiration from archaeological artefacts, which are often fragmented and scattered in different museums despite belonging to the same nucleus, they also invite visitors to play a puzzle, reconstructing stories and connections between the subjects within the exhibition space. These subjects speak of the Mediterranean culture to which we belong and which myth helps to convey, all over the world, transcending linguistic and religious differences. Myth unites us as human beings. «Basically, with our work we invite people to connect with the world of graffiti and the world of classical culture, which is what we are. Always with our work we try to represent our essence. It’s been ten years since we discovered this way of expressing ourselves where we connect with our past and invite people to connect with the past, which lives with them every day.»
The corpus of works was also conceived by the artists to give visitors and collectors the illusion of admiring fragments of interventions that PichiAvo usually creates in urban spaces; the plasterboard reproduces the effects of the materials and colours with which the artists frequently clash in their outdoor production. Regarding the gallery exhibition, PichiAvo explained what it means to them: «For us as artists, working with a gallery in Milan is perfect because of our connection to the Greco-Roman style, it unites and feeds into our work. We are sure that having this connection with Italy can work very well. Working in a gallery, being used to working on the street and in a studio, makes it possible to reach an audience we could not otherwise reach and it is an opportunity to present our work in a different way.»
Who are PichiAvo?
PichiAvo is a duo composed of Juan Antonio (Pichi, 1977) and Álvaro (Avo, 1985). The two street art artists met in 2007 on the graffiti scene in Valencia and have since abandoned their individual artistic research in favour of a unique production characterised by innovative approaches and the balanced fusion of classical and urban art. Recognised for their ability to combine painting and sculpture in urban contexts, PichiAvo also work in the studio, exploring a wide range of materials and painting techniques. Their art gives life to an urban mythology that unites people from different social backgrounds, all sharing a common classical cultural imagery and a deep human connection.
The mural created for the North West Walls Festival in Belgium in 2015 marked the beginning of their international career and today PichiAvo boast exhibitions in galleries and at the CCCC Centre del Carme Cultura Contemporània in Valencia. They have also been involved in prestigious corporate projects, such as a collaboration with Bulgari in Rome in 2018, and in social projects that saw them create a monumental 26-metre-high sculpture for the Fallas festival in Valencia in 2019. PichiAvo’s murals can be found all over the world, in more than 20 countries.