Yes, these are real … and yet entirely unreal at the same time. After traveling extensively through the shanty towns of Sao Paolo and Ro de Janeiro, Brazil, artist Dionisio Gonzalez has constructed a series of photographic collages that blend imagination and architecture, a kind of hyper-real Alice-in-Wonderland representation of the hodgepodge urban reality around him.
His work is not just artistic or theoretical commentary – it is a semi-concrete vision for the possible restructuring of shanty towns (known as “favelas” in Brazil.) He has imagined and proposed a reuse of the spontaneous constructive elements of the existing structures in mass settlements to create controlled hybrid-but-functional communities of the future.
The artist’s critique and proposal are based on his observation of the slash-and-burn tactics of the Brazilian government which, when it intervenes, simply swoops in and sweeps areas before rebuilding utterly – at the expense of the shared structural history of an area that might not be ideal but is what many people call home.
Gonzlez tests out various configurations, scales and stylistic combinations in his compelling series of collages – in part an aesthetic exercise but also an attempt to take the real materials he has photographed and find new ways to recombine them for new purposes. His work has won him international recognition and awards.
More info from Designboom:
“A fascination with architecture — a trademark theme that runs throughout González’ oeuvre — and his concern for the social sphere have led him on a lasting search for physical sites where chaos and beauty coexist. The examples he has found include dauphin island, land located in the Gulf of Mexico which suffers from incessant and devastating hurricanes. impressed by the vitality of its inhabitants to repeatedly recover from what nature destroys, Dionisio has been motivated to design habitable and sustainable constructions, like real futuristic forts made of iron and concrete, replacing unstable wood.”
“The meticulously manipulated dwellings intend to provide answers to the problems of the world and as the artist explains, ‘give shape to new habitable structures in the vacuums in the perception of spaces that had previously been devastated’.”