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Brooklyn Street Art

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Converting Gold From Our Waste: “Bordalo II / 2011 – 2017”

Posted on January 30, 2018

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Are those Ai Weiwei bicycles clustered and suspended in the air overhead? Rather they are stored here like a 3 layer spoke, wheel, and frame cake, pressed to the side of this bricked wall tin-roof warehouse along with rolling office chairs waving their legs in the air like little lady bugs stuck on their backs.

Everything here has been pressed into position by the small mountains of white garbage bags filled with something soft, like dollops of whipped cream. The entire confection is sprinkled across the top with lanterns and light fixtures plucked from decades of the last half-century.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Such is the splendid stuff of dreams and discovery for Bordalo II, the Lisbon-based Street Artist and maker of garbage relief animal portraits in cities across the world.

These are the things that when arranged on shelves and in placed relation to a floor plan, within parameters and boundaries of our mundanity, will comprise a perfect environment of domesticity; full of memory, associative emotion, symmetry. Objects, materials melted and poured, carved and plain, screwed and snapped, polished and sprayed, emulsified, inset, extruded, coiled, soldiered, plated, woven. These dimensional collections of matter matter to us. Metal alloy. Plastic polymer. Blown glass. Rubber, copper, steel, bakelite, particle board, glue.

Disarrange. You create chaos, disruption, disunity, discontent. Arrange again and create a muskrat, a buck deer, a petulant parakeet, an undulant octopus.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Bordalo II, so-named after his watercolor master grandfather Real Bordalo who passed last year at 91, has in six or seven short years made a name for himself with your garbage, refusing to allow it to go to the junkyard or to float in the ocean just yet.

“After surveying the variety of offerings that included industrial, commercial, and consumer detritus, he speedily chose what appear to me to be a random bunch of junk,” writes five-decade photographer of urban art and artists, Martha Cooper about how he captured her interest.

“It was a genuine pleasure to watch an animal evolve before everyone’s eyes. As I watched him create the sculptural mural I was amazed to see how he utilized the shapes, textures, and aesthetic qualities of the found items to recreate the octopus in such a true-to-life manner.”

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Hers and others’ observations and essays are collected in “Bordalo II, 2011-2017” released in concert with his massive solo show “Attero” this November in Lisbon. A graffiti writer as a youth with his crew R315 Dream Team, the artist credits the three years at the Fine Arts Faculty in his city for allowing him to discover sculpture and to experiment with different materials, seducing him away from strictly painting. With it he is creating critique of our love of “things” and the excesses of consumerism, especially those excesses that are endangering wildlife.

“Bordalo is a master of our refuse,” says writer and critic Carlo McCormick, “what we throw way in our endless glut of consumption, the ideas, sensibilities and dreams we discard in the name of progress and all that accumulates unwanted, ignored, and even reviled by society’s voracious appetite for something disposable.” McCormick looks carefully at the implications of such an art practice and praises Bordalo II for the sharp tongue he brings to a sometimes superficial conversation occurring in the Street Art scene.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

No hero is he, nor does he pretend to be. Rather Bordalo II uses his work to remind us of our integral part of a cycle that includes everyone and everything. João Pedro Matos Fernandes, the Portuguese Minister of Environment adds his voice to those in this unassuming but powerful tome after laying out the treacherous story of our trash.

Speaking of Bordalo’s work, Mr. Fernandes writes,” It calls to our attention the choices we make in our everyday life, and to the consequences of our actions. And he does so in a scathing fashion, which I thoroughly enjoy, by using trash to represent some of the more emblematic species which our behavior puts at risk.”

It’s a brief snapshot of the artist in motion, with surely more evolutions to come. Ever the delicious quipster with the poetic tongue, McCormick lauds the street trash wizard.

“And in this world where we choke the planet with out incessant rubbish, let us celebrate those alchemical artists like Bordalo II who have that rare gift of being able to turn shit into gold.”

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

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