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The street artists OS GEMEOS, twin brothers hailing from Brazil, have left an indelible mark in Milan. They were invited by Pirelli HangarBicocca, a non-profit institution dedicated to contemporary art, to paint a mural on an old train factory lying northeast of the city center. The work of art was inaugurated in April 2016.
Street art duo OS GEMEOS are well-known for their large murals that fuse a hip-hop style with their native Brazilian culture. Os gemeos is Portuguese for ‘the twins’ and Octavio and Gustavo Pandolfo are in fact identical twin brothers. The Pandolfo brothers began painting graffiti in 1987 when hip-hop culture started to become diffused in Brazil. They had been active in the breakdancing scene and were inspired by the emerging American hip-hop street art scene; graffiti artist Barry McGee was a particularly important influence on the twins and helped them develop their unique technique and aesthetic. Barry McGee also introduced Octavio and Gustavo to friends who would later expand their reach outside of South America and help them become known internationally.
OSGEMEOS paint impressively large art that often features yellow-skinned characters. They have works throughout the world in Cuba, the U.S., dozens of European countries and across Brazil. Earlier this year, they were invited by the Pirelli HangarBicocca foundation in Milan to paint a mural on an old train factory. The non-profit foundation was born in 2004 and promotes contemporary art by Italian and international artists. Housed in an old industrial plant that manufactured trains, it spans 15,000 square meters, making it one of the largest spaces in Europe. Many of the original factory elements are preserved within the foundation, including rooms used to test electrical machinery.
The creation pays homage to this unique history and features a figure aimed to pay homage to this, depicted in colorful attire and a hooded sweatshirt, clinging to the back of a train wagon with the destination ‘Milano’ demarcated up top. This is not the first time OSGEMEOS has produced work in Milan; the brothers were invited to inaugurate the Galleria Patricia Armocida exhibition space in 2007, for which they created numerous smaller paintings and a multimedia installation. This is, however, the first large mural they have painted in Italy.