Daniel Melim – Image Courtesy of Choque Cultural
The repeated charge that the art world is lofty and often out of reach has been recently challenged by the launch of the exciting new art app Loupe. Allowing for the easy streaming of a well-curated collection right on your computer, phone or television screen, it has something of a populist mission while also maintaining its impeccable sense of taste.
Some of Loupe‘s featured artists have become our new faves – to wit, Brazil’s Paul Kurucz. His provocative photographs play with perception and context, making the seemingly bizarre or surreal seem funny and curiosity-inspiring. They leave you wanting to know more about what you’re seeing.
“I was born in a Hungarian hospital to a French mother,” he explains, “who was expelled as a child from Egypt in 1956 for not being an Arab. She went to Europe instead of Israel because her Jewish family was pro-Arab.”
That tumultuous early life experience would go on to have a profound effect on the way he sees the world. Which, in turn, inspired his approach to creating such unexpected imagery.
“My life has been a long journey outside the boundaries of normality,” he says. “What one sees as bizarre or ambiguous is not only natural for me, but is the very essence of natural. This is how I see, feel and portray the world.”
Continuing a BlackBook-Loupe collaborative series which has included the likes of Bushwick, Atlanta and Denver, we asked him to share with us where local creative types might be found gravitating to in the endlessly chaotic but thrilling city of Sao Paulo.
“It’s Latin America’s New York City,” he tells us. “Its art scene is urban, vibrant, cosmopolitan, competitive, attracting the most creative minds. That could not be said of Rio de Janeiro, where I lived the past four years. One is extraordinarily fertile soil for the mind, while the other is a paradise for the body. Most inspiring is Sao Paulo’s lack of artistic elitism, its joyful habit of embracing new ideas, even the ones that are doomed to fail.”
Paul’s Sao Paulo Picks
In the alternative-chic district of Pinheiros, Kof is a perfect blend of imported coffees, ultra thick cookies, and race bikes in a small shop. Adorable waiters also serve homemade lemonades on the street, inside and in a small, hidden garden. It has super fast Wi-Fi that makes my home office feel like jail.
My second home, where we do our shootings. It is an old, 10m-high bunker with no heating or A/C, but always the same nice temperature. It has a wide corridor to the surface from where the light comes in, if we want. It’s a surreal setting, a modern day cavern that inspires us to avoid cliches associated with works done in downtown fashion studios.
Museum of Image and Sound (MIS)
The PS1 and Centre George Pompidou of Sao Paulo. In a city located, or rather dislocated far from the world’s prime art scenes, the MIS brings the best multimedia art exhibitions [recent major shows have include O Mundo de Tim Burton and Frida Kahlo: Her Photos). To survive the hour long waiting lines, I like to call forgotten friends to get a life and or art update.
Museum of Image and Sound – Photo by Leticia Godoy
For any art savvy globetrotter, I would definitely suggest to visit the more progressive galleries in Pinheiros. Then hang out at night at Roosevelt Square, where alternative subcultures are celebrated by the city’s “marginals.” Also have a long walk on the Paulista Avenue on Sundays (when the it is closed to traffic), where the best museums and most diverse exhibitions in town are. Some of the notable galleries are Choque Cultural, Galeria Millan and Instituto Tomie Ohtake.
The meeting point of the city’s most eccentric subcultures, my favorite spot for free, open-air electronic parties. I love to chose among the 30 types of fresh pressed juices in one of the square’s hipster juice bars and just watch the the show of new fashion tendencies by the most extroverted people in town.
A music venue with a name that tells it all: “Thinking World.” Mundo Pensante is an agnostic paradise located in a former church. Every night a different style, a different tribe, never mainstream. This is the place where I feel most at home, where curiosity, subversion, and alternative culture feel “true” and flow naturally.