André Saraiva’s Andrépolis at The Hole

Andrepolis Full Room
Welcome to Andrépolis (All Photos By Gail)!

For me, a work of art is most effective when it creates a portal to an alternate reality into which the viewer can then immerse himself. A current exhibit which achieves this objective exquisitely is Andrépolis, the first major solo show by Portuguese artist André Saraiva – primarily known as the graffiti artist André – which opened at The Hole Gallery on Bowery this past Thursday.

Andre Graffiti in Neon
André Graffiti Tag Rendered In Neon

As the title suggests, Saraiva has created a simply fantastic miniature Metropolis with this unique installation that is not only enchanting to behold visually, but is also lots of fun to experience as an environment. For this installation, Saraiva built fifteen whimsical sky scraper-like structures (each standing approximately 6 feet tall), fashioned from wood, painted in bright hues (pink being one of his signature colors) and fully accented with exterior neon signage, flashing bulbs and, in some cases interior lights, transforming The Hole’s rear gallery into a hallucinatory nighttime vision of New York city nightclubs and restaurants. Wow!

The Hole Neon Signage

The Hole's Andrepolis Gallery Shot
Fans Explore Andrépolis at Thursday’s Opening Reception

Andrépolis was challenging to photograph. Since the gallery is dark, shooting without a flash looses much of the work’s fine detail, while using the flash washes out the highly desirable moody, surreal and assuredly dreamlike atmosphere created by the many bulbs and neon lights. You can see what I mean by the examples below.

Annabelle Sky Scraper Shot with FlashAnnabelle Sky Scraper No Flash
Annabelle Sky Scarper Shot with Flash Versus No Flash

What I love so much about Andrépolis is how the environment is extremely childlike, yet the subject matter, celebrating the world of nightclubbing and sex shops, exists purely in the adult realm. In a review of the exhibit, Purple Magazine offered that, “These sculptures of nightclubs also link to [the artist’s] activity as a creator of clubs. Each of these sculptures is an altar to the passions in his life: partying, the night, and the irresistible attraction of the lights in the bars and the clubs of the city he is exploring.” I couldn’t have said it better. Andrépolis is very highly recommended.

Sex Shop from Andrepolis

André Saraiva’s Andrépolis will be on Exhibit Through August 10, 2012 at The Hole Gallery, Located at 312 Bowery New York, NY 10012. Phone (212) 466-1100.

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