The Hirshhorn Museum will present the first US museum survey and largest US exhibition of work by identical twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo (b. São Paulo, Brazil, 1974), known globally as OSGEMEOS—Portuguese for “the twins.” The yearlong, full-floor presentation will bring together approximately 1,000 artworks, photographs, and archival materials to highlight the trajectory of their collaborative, multidisciplinary practice, including the roots of their fantastical artistic language inspired by their upbringing in urban Brazil. “OSGEMEOS: Endless Story” spotlights the artists’ playful combination of universal themes with magical elements drawn from their heritage, urban art and graffiti traditions, and shared imagination.
Featuring large-scale paintings on wood and canvas, monumental sculptures and room-sized installations that incorporate light, movement and music, “Endless Story” will fill the Hirshhorn’s sweeping third-floor galleries. To highlight OSGEMEOS’s interest in fusing the real with the fantastic, central place will be given to dreamlike worlds including “The Moon Room” (2022), built specifically for exhibition spaces and featuring sound, colorful architecture and custom wallpaper. The presentation also will include scores of rarely seen drawings illuminating the growth of their creative practice, from the walls of their childhood home to freeways and building façades to global galleries, alongside documentation of their outdoor graffiti and murals.
“Endless Story” frames OSGEMEOS’s origin story in São Paulo with rarely seen early sketches and introduces Tritrez, a mystical universe the artists invented as children and continue to populate with their colorful imaginings and signature large-headed figures. Sources of inspiration, such as their mother’s embroidery, American hip-hop, breakdancing and graffiti, life, nature and dreams, sci-fi and the supernatural, as well as music, feature throughout the galleries. Many works have never been shown outside Brazil, including “The Tritrez Altar” (2020), a vast rainbow-colored structure housing sculptures of OSGEMEOS’s trademark characters. Other highlights include a colossal handmade zoetrope devised in 2014 that, when activated, animates OSGEMEOS’s world in the spirit of pre-cinema days. In addition, more than 30 paintings from lenders across the United States demonstrate the breadth of the artists’ practice.
“OSGEMEOS: Endless Story” is curated by Marina Isgro, Associate Curator of Media and Performance Art at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, with the support of Curatorial Assistant CJ Greenhill Caldera.
OSGEMEOS (b. São Paulo, Brazil, 1974; live and work in São Paulo), whose name means “the twins” in Portuguese, are a collaborative art duo composed of twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo. As children, the brothers developed a distinct way of communicating through artistic language, but it was with the introduction of hip-hop culture in the 1980s that OSGEMEOS began to use art as a way to share their dynamic and magical universe with the public. Combining historical and contemporary elements of Brazilian culture with graffiti, hip-hop, music, dreams and international culture, the artists have created an expansive body of work that includes murals, paintings, sculpture, site-specific installations and video. They use a symbolic visual language often inspired by dreams that, as twins, they claim to share. In addition to the use of bright colors and elaborate patterns, they are best known for their paintings featuring long-limbed figures with thin outlines, enlarged faces and simplified features. The use of doors, canvases, and mirrors, both literal—they paint directly onto discarded doors and incorporate reflective surfaces into their works—and as motifs, signal access to another realm or an entry point to the psyche, pulling viewers into their surreal and chimerical world.