Os Gêmeos - 20th Century to Now London Friday, June 30, 2023 | Phillips
  • “[Painting] can be a portal for us […] we can really fly away from reality, and now we’re jumping inside these magic and lucid dreams and bringing them alive into our reality.”
    —Os Gêmeos

    Known collectively as Os Gêmeos, Brazilian born twins Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo are celebrated as leading figures in the world of urban art, their public murals and graffiti works having been commissioned across the globe. Untitled is a monumental example of the artist duo’s ground-breaking practice, and one of the most significant works to appear at auction. While the artist duo began their career on the streets of Brazil, they later embraced more traditional gallery media such as painting and sculpture, creating a cohesive and singular body of work that moves between different media as seamlessly as between public and private space. In this respect, Os Gêmeos are similar to contemporary artists such as Banksy and KAWS, who similarly negotiate and redefine boundaries separating public and private art.


    Taking cues from historical artists ranging from Botticelli to Basquiat, Os Gêmeos distil centuries of art into their singular visual language. One notable art historical reference is that of Surrealist artists such as Joan Miró and René Magritte. In the present work, Os Gêmeos borrow the dreamlike, floating composition of Miro’s constellations while also depicting uncanny moments of metamorphosis and transformation so characteristic of Surrealist figuration. They have also cited Magical Realist literature as a major influence, one of the key cultural contributions to come from Latin America in the 20th century.


    Another key element of their work is the seamless fusion of rural folk traditions and popular culture. Building a rich visual lexicon informed by the world around them, Os Gêmeos are deeply interested in Brazil’s complex, racially diverse population and its unique socioeconomic landscape. Their works project an optimistic perspective whereby Brazil’s diversity is ‘establishing rather than threatening the nation’s unity and identity.’i These subtle activist messages are present across their expansive body of work, delicately balancing the politics of race and class within their joyful, psychedelic landscapes.

    ‘‘We are proud to know that we are a diverse people, rooted in our cultures and languages, which often create even global trends. This can be found in our work too, this diversity of languages, messages and stories. In our daily routine, we live this cultural multiplicity, so when we leave our home and go to work, we can already see many interesting things which inspire, characters, paintings, music. The Brazilian finds ways to live and survive with creativity.’’
    — Os Gêmeos

    As pioneering figures in the world of urban art, Os Gêmeos have helped to bridge the gap between graffiti and fine art. As a result, the duo has received critical acclaim, evidenced by a major mid-career retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston in 2012, as well as numerous other solo museum exhibitions, most recently at the CAC Málaga in 2022. Major public commissions include Hangar Bicocca, Milan in 2016; Times Square, New York in 2015; Wynwood Walls, Miami in 2009; and Tate Modern, London in 2008.



    Os Gêmeos quoted in Sasha Bogojev, ‘A Portal Into Another World: An Interview with OSGEMEOS’, Juxtapox Magazine, 24 September 2020, online.

    • Provenance

      Prism Gallery, Los Angeles​
      Private Collection​
      Phillips, New York, 24 November 2014, lot 14​
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Artist Biography

      Os Gêmeos

      Brazilian • 1974

      Born Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, Os Gêmeos ('The Twins') are graffiti artists from São Paulo whose style is influenced by both Brazilian tradition and hip hop culture. Their work often features yellow-skinned figures but is otherwise diverse, ranging from interpretations of Brazilian folklore to social and political commentary. With the advent of American hip hop culture in Brazil in the late 1980s, the identical twins became interested in breakdancing. This led them to begin emulating New York graffiti art they had seen in photos before starting to consciously incorporate elements of Brazilian culture into their art and develop their own style. Their creative output graces walls across the world, from Scotland to Los Angeles, and also includes sculptures and installations.

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acrylic, spray paint and sequins on canvas, in artist's frame
203.3 x 302.8 cm (80 x 119 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2011.

Full Cataloguing

£150,000 - 200,000 

Contact Specialist

Leonor de Osma
Head of Sale, 20th Century to Now
T +44 20 7901 7912
M +44 7584 086 052

20th Century to Now

London Auction 30 June 2023