Solo Residency Exhibition
Exhibition: 20—29 August 2020
Opening: Thursday, 20 August, until 9pm
Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is proud to present Unflappable, the Solo Residency Exhibition by our 13th Solo Residents Los Bravú.
Unflappable is a rare body of work – completed in the months of the COVID-19 global crisis. To describe the artist duo is to allow for disruption and continuity to exist together, to perceive the static vagabond. Diego Omil & Dea Gómez are partners in everything. This duo has years of collaboration, years of a studio practice that result in a magical third element – an exceptional body of work demonstrating remarkable skills of craft and intelligence.
Los Bravú are consummate wanderers, Walter Benjamin’s perfect flaneurs: wandering, observing, connecting and finding threads of philosophical observations of our uncanny existence. Typically their work responds to people and the paintings often ‘portrait’ in the style of renaissance fresco. The historical referencing suggests a belonging and longevity, however the insertion of contemporary objects and fashions disrupts and jars us into the present. The works are subversive, in that we are convinced of their importance by the expertise of skill and our own personal relationship to the great fresco painters. Then we are jolted forward when we notice the modern trainers, an iPad – contemporary objects threading a narrative.
Los Bravú began the residency at Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop with ambitious plans to investigate the way tourism has turned European capitals and their museums into theme parks, as well as having a closer look at the cosmopolitan diversity of London. Starting a residency in the time of a global pandemic has been a new territory for these wanderers, these anthropologists. Deserted streets of London, normally the most populated city in Europe, became the subject of their walks, sketch books and minds. “The capitalistic lifestyle on hiatus: people did not go to the streets of London to earn or spend money, [they] were only there to walk, relax, exercise or take time to breathe. [Their] route was not marked by an appointment with someone or an institution, [they] wandered through the city aimlessly. Left or right? Simply [their] intuition”.
Sometimes walking up to 20 kilometres and unable to connect with people as they usually do, Dea and Diego looked outward and inward to adapt their practice. They instantly tuned into the urban wildlife, feelings of isolation shared with others in the city, as well as their very own isolation from family and Spain. A huge city reduced to provinciality. “Collapse on the Canal”, a large painting centred upon a young woman – depicted moments after a fall, the broken phone, spilled shopping, ingredients of a tortilla.
A pictogram of sorts, telling the story of the isolated individual surrounded by the unobserved nature, whilst rushing home.
For Los Bravú, the everyday wandering, the observations became exaggerated. The lack of crowds of people allowed the normally unseen nature, and animals to take centre stage. Archeologists, anthropologists, urban spectators responding spontaneously in the very moment.
In this, Los Bravú are unflappable, as this pair are constant observers and the conditions they witness provide the content. Whether this experimental behaviour is linked to the conditions of urban society as described by Guy Debord or Ian Sinclair’s urban London Poetry, The two contend that they “look at contemporary reality, with a line of continuity in [their] previous work. Melancholic-looking characters who occupy the streets and are affected by problems of lockdown, anxiety, loneliness or fear of the void of the future. The architecture that surrounds them has a fundamental role, [they] have highlighted the enormous influence of classical Mediterranean culture in Anglo-Saxon London.” The duo has a remarkable understanding of the continuity of their practice and its infinite loop of spontaneous deep wanderings around the globe, that provides endless subjects for their unstoppable, unflappable practice.
Dea Gómez (b. 1989, Salamanca, SP) and Diego Omil (b. 1988, Pontevedra, SP) have been working together since 2012 under the name “Los Bravú“. They have been awarded the Solo Residency at Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop and have been working in the studio above the gallery space from May-August 2020. Their work has won numerous awards, with the scholarship of the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome (2016-17) being the most important. Recent exhibitions include Brillas muchísimo, DA2 Museo de Arte Moderno de Salamanca (2019), Fé y afición, Galería Trinta, Santiago de Compostela (2019), La caza del faisán, Galería Jorge Alcolea, Barcelona, SP (2019), E ́to Tiguere Tan Bien Chivo, Lyle O. Reitzel Gallery, Santo Domingo, DR (2019) and Si non è vero, è ben trovato, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Alcobendas, Madrid, SP (2019).