Sao Paulo is under constant development and refurbishment. As in many large cities, the sounds of building work are a near-constant accompaniment to daily life – power tools, delivery trucks, steel and concrete fabrication, the shouts and whistles, and the hand-tools, of workmen (haven’t seen a woman builder yet) are woven into the soundtrack. In Sao Paulo, ‘verticalisation’ is the main activity.
Make a space and fill it in
The older buildings are gradually demolished to make way for towers of apartments, with perhaps a commercial element included. This process is not always straightforward – the redevelopment of Avenida Faria Lima in the 1960s, for example, met with some resistance. See https://theproverbial.org/2012/08/16/regeneracao-gentrificacao/ .
Corner of Rua Artur d’Azevedo and Rua Fradique Coutinho
On the corner of Azevedo and Fradique, one block of buildings has been gradually shut down for demolition and re-development. A series of graffiti-style posters has appeared, drawing attention to the site.
The female figure was the first to appear, on the traffic control unit, much as they have done in nearby streets, at first painted onto the unit direct.
Corner of Rua Joaquim Antunes and Alameda Gabriel
Eventually all four sides of the Azevedo and Fradique unit were covered, security banding adding a randomly appropriate element to the image.
Mixed media – paint, newsprint, traffic unit. Her eyes have been opened
Images on paper had begun to appear elsewhere in the neighbourhood.
Rua Teodoro Sampaio
As the humans leave, they emerge
As buildings fell vacant, the images spread, much as their real-life subject might do as they are disturbed by demolition. The instinctive revulsion most people feel towards cockroaches was deployed very effectively in this piece of guerrilla art.
The bar on the corner is now closed
Zezé of the gymnastics academy had been above the shopfront on Azevedo – latterly an automotive workshop – for 35 years, and bid her students and neighbours a sad farewell.
Rubble on the academy stairs and the blinds awry – only the façade is still standing
This development is symptomatic of a deep-seated issue in Brazil – the ownership of property. Business owners often do not own their premises. The goodwill they build up over years can be destroyed with little notice to make way for a more profitable development.
A year ago the artist put the finishing touches to the mural on the local pool hall, also established about 30 years ago (the leaping / floating man against a blue background an homage to French surrealist Yves Klein – see http://tudosobretech.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/exposicao-a-fotografia-manipulada-antes-do-photoshop/ ). Whatever benefit the new building delivers, I doubt it will be as characterful as this establishment. Are the graffiti artists the only ones to mourn its passing?
Mural art with cockroaches
UPDATE Demolition is well under way. A hole in the fabric of the city, soon to be filled by another vertical. For a moment, the unadorned sides of cast concrete buildings are exposed.
View on the corner
Here’s the hole in the ground from which the new tower will be built.
Corner of Azevedo and Fradique, October 2014