Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tiago & Gabriel Primo : Climbing & Living as an Intallation

Climbing brothers Tiago and Gabriel Primo have been living on display since May of this year. Their vision for the exterior wall of a local gallery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has literally taken on the life of these two artists/climbers.

Apparently images of big wall climbing and the bivy ledges that climbers use to camp out on these, often multi-day vertical expeditions have creeped into the art scene of Brazil. But this time there is no big wall, just an urban niche now filled with the amenities that you would usually find in the comfort of your own home.

This is not the first time the art scene has taken a page from the journals of the climbing community. Artist Matthew Barney, in one of his 'Creamaster' films put his rigging and construction man T.J. Davey to work as a stand in, climbing the proscenium of an opera house in Budapest. There is also the moving structural mass of 2000 bamboo supports "Big Bamboo" by the Starn brothers making its way through the old Tallix foundry in Beacon, NY.

Perhaps these two have brought a new edge to the use of climbing equipment and techniques in art, by publicising their life 14 hours a day for nearly four months. Apparently Taigo and Gabriel spend the majority of their time interacting with the public. Which renders some questions related to my current interests. Through the publicity of their lifestyle, that which is typically private, are these brothers blurring the distinction between the private and public spheres? And could this be called public art? Perhaps not, but I am inclined to wonder, if they began dialogues related to housing issues, which they have been asked "How much is the rent?" by a passerby, and if they then opened a public dialogue related to such a topic in the streets of Rio, would it then become public art? While this may not be the purpose of their work, and it seems as though activism is the last thing on the minds of these two, their actions do generate questions and blur the divisions of public/private domains. What can be seen, and is probably more important than the questions I am posing, is simply how much fun it would be if there were more vertical access and exposure in the Urban landscape. Sure it presents liability issues and would probably incur serious legal ramifications if not authorized by the art world, but perhaps that is one of the best things about the art world. It's diverse, experimental, and has enough authority to provide spaces and legitimacy for the otherwise irrational but all to human forms of expression and acts of freedom.

Brothers Taigo and Gabrial plan to continue this exhibition and lifestyle through mid August. After which the home on a rope will come down and another, perhaps more grounded exhibition will take place.

Brothers Taigo and Gabriel Primo as their installation.
image via: associated press

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