(this page was last updated in July 2016)
São Paulo, Brazil, 1971
Lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil.
Represented by Zipper Galeria.
PIPA 2014 nominee.
Zezão (José Augusto Amaro Capela), began his quest to conquer the underworld with graffiti in São Paulo in the 90s. Inspired and motivated by Jean-Michel Basquiat’s art, Zezão believed in his right to depart from the well-trodden paths with his art and to explore new avenues. He worked in sewage systems, in drains, in the rubble of abandoned ruined buildings, in dilapidated blind alleys and dark spaces below viaducts, and so drew attention to a cityscape whose existence many people could barely credit.
He has exhibited numerous times in his home country, Brazil, mainly in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. His graffiti also adorn walls, sewerage systems and viaducts around the world. Places in which he has exhibited in the past include Brighton, Florence, Frankfurt, Hamburg, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Prague and Wuppertal.
Video produced by Matrioska Filmes exclusively for PIPA 2014.
Zezão later broadened his activities. He took everyday objects from the trash and created a new existence for them by inventively assembling and painting them. Even now, for his wood collages he uses objects found in the street such as pieces of lumber used for barricades in São Paulo, or he creates a foundation using old “treasures” like mirrors, trays, car doors, bedsteads.
He always leaves his trademark on the dilapidated, isolated surfaces, his blue, abstract signature derived from the word “vicio” [“addiction”], and thus delves into what appears to be true life, and brings to light what without his art would remain ignored, what nobody wants to see. In this way he uses delicate tints and shapes to descend into a chaotic underworld, invading the subterranean space, and by contrast he revives its raw walls in a subtle, quintessentially blue presence.
Art close to trash, dead animals and broken pieces of furniture, at the margins of society – Zezão inspires dialogue between the underworld and surface, to get talked about.
Wherever trash [“lixo” in Portuguese] needs to be turned into luxury [ “luxo” in Portuguese ] – this is where Zezão’s work comes into its own. It contains political and social messages and ones which relate to the environment. Because its connection with dilapidated neighbourhoods, derelict buildings, contaminated water, smog and filth, violence, or the recycling of discarded objects, all this is a way of making a critical statement about these diverse problems of the city. At the same time important debates on issues such as sustainability and recycling are linked.
– “Conexões”, Galeria Athena Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Lembranças de um Passado Adormecido”, Galeria Athena Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Retrospectiva Zezão”, Brasilea Foundation, Basel, Switzerland
– “Além do Submundo”, Galeria Athena Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Vari Ações Urbanas”, Galeria Choque Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Cidade Limpa”, Galeria Choque Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil
– Photography exhibition at Avenida Paulista FNAC space, curated by Rosely Nakagawa, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Subterrâneos”, Galeria Choque Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Sankt Pauli”, Millerntor Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
– “Baroque The Streets”, London, UK
– “Overtime”, Heliuncowboy Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
– “Street Art Brazil”, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
– “Sainkt Pauli”, Millerntor Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
– “Urban Masters”, Opera Gallery, London, UK
-“Street Art Und Graffiti Aus São Paulo”, Brasileia Foundation, Basel, Switzerland
– “Fuera de la Linea”, Museu Macro, Rosário, Argentina
– “Street Art”, Museu Von der Heydt, Wuppertal, Germany
– “Wash Festival”, Hamburg, Germany
– 1ª Bienal de Graffiti Fine Art, Museu Brasileiro de Escultura, São Paulo, Brazil
– “São Paulo, Galleria Scion, Los Angeles, California, USA
– Coletivo Choque”, Galeria Choque Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Une Estivale” , galeria LJ, Paris, France
– “São Paulo Mon Amour”, Maison des Métallos, Paris, France
– “De Dentro Para Fora de Fora para Dentro”, Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil
– “Fresh Air Smell Funny”, Kunsthalle Dominikanerkirche Museum, Hamburg, Germany
– Festival Della Criativitá, Florence, Italy
– “Ruas de São Paulo”, Galeria Jonathan Levine, New York, USA
– “Fabulosas Desordens”, Caixa Econômica Federal, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Cor da Rua”, Galeria Ocontemporary, Brighton, UK
– “Coleções”, Galeria Luisa Strina, Curated by Nessia Leonzini, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Ruas de São Paulo”, Memorial da América Latina, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Cata Lixo”, Galeria Choque Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Coletivo Rua”, MAC Americana, SP, Brazil
– “Calaveras”, Galeria Choque Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil
– Collective Exhibition panel on the facade of the building MAC USP in celebration of its birthday on April 8th, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
Zezão made available his catalogue for an exhibition in Basel, Switzerland, September 2013.
To download click here: Brasilea Zezao Catalogue (470 downloads)
- Watch this week's video-interviews
- Nominated artist interview | Zezão
- Last days | Solo exhibition by Zezão
- Solo show marks Zezão's return to the São Paulo art circuit
- Graffiti artist Zezão returns to the São Paulo art circuit
- Opening | Zezão's solo exhibition
- New on artists' pages
- PIPA 2014 Nominees | 4th Bulletin