30 August 2012
Alexandre Orion – Skulls in Sao Paolo Hailing from Brazil, Alexandre sees his art work as a way of getting an environmental message across to those who ordinarily wouldn’t listen.
In 2006, Orion created Ossário, an intervention in one of São Paulo's road tunnels. Orion spent seventeen days using pieces of cloth to selectively remove the thick layers of car exhaust soot from the sidewalls of the tunnel, creating skull drawings outlined by the years of grime left to accumulate on the walls. The tunnel was transformed into a virtual catacomb with over 3,500 hand-designed skulls reminding people that the same black soot impregnating the tunnel walls was also darkening their lungs and lives.
The Brazilian authorities were incensed but couldn’t actually charge him with anything so they instead cleaned the tunnel. At first the cleaned only the parts Alexandre had cleared but after the artist switched to the opposite wall they had to clean that too.
In the end, the authorities decided to wash every tunnel in the city, missing the irony completely, it seems.