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Galeria Choque Cultural

Biography

The Galeria Choque cultural was founded in 2003 in the Pinheiros neighbourhood. It started out as a publishing house, but then became a gallery of young Brazilian street artists, graffiti, graphic design and many other forms of urban language. The owners are three young graduates coming from different backgrounds (fashion, architecture and history).

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The Galeria Choque Cultural is an unusual gallery situated in the neighbourhood Pinheiros. It has nothing to do with the typical white and empty galleries we are used to seeing.  It is a very big space with three floors and contrary to normal galleries it is filled with colours and all the walls are painted in a very eccentric way. Actually the gallery used to be the house of one of the owners and was then transformed into an art gallery.

This lively gallery was created by three young friends from scratch since none of them or their family belonged to the art world. Eduardo (the owner that we met) is a historian whilst his two partners are an architect and the other one is a fashion designer. He considers himself middleclass and had the possibility to study in university.

In the beginning they worked with prints and publishing. Then, slowly they started expanding and eventually became an art gallery by collaborating with many of their artist friends. Thanks to their network of friends, which was strongly rooted in art, much of the work that the gallery exhibits represents their own generation.

The gallery tends to work with graffiti and street artists but they consider themselves very open and work also with other kinds of arts. In fact they also work with the Galeria Fortes Vilaca which has artists that are mainstream and very expensive. Moreover they also work with galleries abroad, exchanging artists. In December, for example Eduardo tells us that they will show some artists in Los Angeles.

The artists they show in the gallery are mainly from 18 to 50 years old and most of them belong to their network of friends. Now they are exhibiting eight artists from Buenos Aires that came to Sao Paulo to help ‘create’ the exhibition. In fact the walls are covered in paint because each time artists come to the gallery to present their work they paint over the walls because they also do site specific work. Choque often prefers to have artists come and work in Sao Paulo for a short period of time and produce site specific work, rather then buy their work from outside Brazil. Eduardo thinks that exchanging art between countries is more expensive because of taxes.

The gallery does more or less eight shows per year. The other function of the gallery is as a school, but nothing formal since many of the artists have never been to art school.

They are also planning to open another space in Sao Paulo that will follow the white cube concept, in order to take care of the resident artists. They need to open this new space for the business side of the operations.

As for their collectors, Eduardo explained that they are mainly from the entertainment business such as TV, Magazines, Newspapers and so on. Moreover, Choque tries to invest in its young audience by selling affordable prints (R$100). They do this in order to start allowing kids to collect prints and get used to collecting art so that one day they might be the future collectors!

Regarding the new artists they show in the gallery they always meet them through friends or through the web. For example, Eduardo explained that he had always seen the work of street artist Titifreak and always had liked it very much. Then eventually he met him at a party and they started collaborating. He says that what they sell in the gallery isn’t street art because it is very different from what you see in the streets. He told us that with what the street artists earn by selling in the gallery, they are able to live by doing what they like to do. Eduardo compares the street artists to the famous football players that come from the streets and favelas and then by selling their art become famous.

When the topic of the Pixadores came up, Eduardo explained that the kinds of artists that Choque represents and the Pixadores have conflicting views. One, a group of Pixadores even entered the gallery and destroyed it by filling it with their distinctive writing, because they don’t want the art of the streets to be sold in galleries.

The general impression you get after the conversation with the owner is that this gallery has a way of promoting street art and other forms of urban language in an informal way, to a younger audience. It seems also as a place where people can meet and discuss and not simply buy.

by Fiammetta Griccioli

Choque Cultural website

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