Archive for the ‘masks’ Tag

Seeing “lo real maravilloso”

Bandidos and beatos roam from the Andean ridges to the barren sertões in South American literature’s lush, magical history.

The bug got me bit at postgrad and I sprawled from Gabriel Garcia Márquez et al to writing a dissertation on Brazilian cinema of the 1960s.

I’ve not stopped itching for “lo real maravilloso” in the visual arts since – and two new storytellers rode onto my horizon last week.


Cinco minutos tarde by Huanchaco (via We Make Money Not Art).

Peruvian artist Huanchaco explores the chaotic capital Lima through a slobbish anti-hero.

Superchaco takes on the city through an optic of commercial culture, pop and hyperreal comicbook stylings.


Si se puede by Huanchaco.

The results are broadly postmodern but also comment on the local culture of hero-ising in South America – from beatos (mystical leaders) to dictators – pulling the idea inside-out in a way that’s fresh and surprising.


“Turista” by Los Vocalino (via Yatzer).

Ariel and Sebas Vocalino brought back Peruvian masks from their travels for this new series, “Turista”. As they explain:

“In our trip to Peru, we found these masks and without knowing what they were for, we bought many of them. Afterwards, we investigated about them and found out that they were used for carnival, exactly to hide men’s identity, so that they don’t feel ashamed of what they do.”


“Turista” by Los Vocalino.

Yatzer’s interview with the Buenos Aires artists caught me off guard. They talk of the tourist as a lonely figure who connects with his surroundings through his look.

But these masks made me think of technicolour bandidos and the cangaçeiros of Brazilian folklore. Roamers (and tourists, I guess), robbing the rich to give to the poor. With a liberal splashing of guns and debauchery en route.

Funny, magical and never quite real. Hope this work gives you a tingle too.


Taschen’s new history of Latin American design.

– Straight outta Rio: preview of Diplo’s Favela on Blast.

Surrealist financial ads from Leo Burnett, São Paulo.

¡Land of the Lucha Libre!

Luchadors. Mexican wrestlers. They’ve all got a story – and a logo. Their mask.

Where does the mask come from?

Aztecs, if you’re being dreamy and distant. The need for self-promotion, if you’re being 20th century and consumerist.

But hold that disbelief for one second. There are stories behind those masks. There’s honour and history behind the luchadors, even when they’re fighting werewolves in comic books.

Can the same be said of the WWF (WWE?) loudmouth? The hard-selling capitalist breed of this noble and ridiculous warrior, changing identity and allegiance as the money takes him?

I’m not sure. But I know I prefer the underdog’s story. And it takes good storytelling to get millions transfixed by a single TV second, over and over.

Take it away, Santo…

Related: Brazilian logo mashing.

Event: Lucha Libre in London this July.

Remember: This is just cultural mash-up. But feel free to start a serious discussion if you want one…