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August 10, 2019

Zezao _ About the Artist

Walking Blue by Zezão site specific installation Anno Domini 2019.

Zezão brings his work to the favelas of Brazil to bring beauty and hope to the poor and ignored. These experiences have inspired his Favelinha (Favelas) series of sculptural collagements.

Zezão (José Augusto Amaro Handa) began his quest to conquer the underworld with graffiti in São Paulo in the 90s. Inspired and motivated by the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Zezão believed it his right to depart from the well-trodden paths with his art and to explore new avenues. He worked in sewerage systems, in drains, in the rubble of abandoned ruined buildings,in dilapidated blind alleys and dark spaces below viaducts, and so drew attention to a cityscape whose existence many people could barely credit.

Some time later he broadened his activities: he took everyday objects from the trash and created anew existence for them by inventively assembling and painting them. Even now, for his wood collages he uses objects found in the street such as pieces of lumber used for barricades in São Paulo, or he creates a foundation using old “treasures” like mirrors, trays, car doors, and bedsteads.

He always leaves his trademark on the dilapidated,isolated surfaces, his blue, abstract signature derived from the word “vício”, meaning “addiction”, and thus delves into what appears to be true life, and brings to light what without his art would remain ignored, what nobody wants to see. In this way he uses delicate tints and shapes to descend into a chaotic underworld, invading the subterranean space, and by contrast he revives its raw walls in a subtle, quintessentially blue presence.

Art close to trash, dead dogs and broken pieces of furniture, at the margins of society – Zezão inspires dialogue between the underworld and the surface, to get talked about. Wherever trash (Brazilian:lixo) needs to be turned into luxury (Brazilian: luxo)–this is where Zezão’s work comes into its own.

It contains political and social messages and ones which relate to the environment. Because its connection with dilapidated neighborhood, derelict buildings, contaminated water, smog and filth, violence, or the recycling of discarded objects, all this is a way of making a critical statement about these diverse problems of the city. At the same time important debates on issues such as sustainability and recycling are kindled.

Zezão’s graffiti adorns walls, sewerage systems and viaducts around the world and
his art work has been exhibited in Barcelona, Brighton, Florenz, Frankfurt,Hamburg, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris,Prague, Wuppertal and in Rio de Janeiro and
São Paulo in his home country of Brazil.

Posted by Anno Domini


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