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Remixing the Classics with artists PichiAvo

The genre-redefining artists PichiAvo bring new meaning to the term 'dynamic duo', relating mythology to the current moment by blending graffiti and classical art. The immediacy and boldness of street art plays off the gravitas and refinement of classical works, coming together in a brilliant, compelling clash.

Colourful image of a classical sculpture with graffiti.
Phryne by PichiAvo. Located at the Hellenic Museum.

PichiAvo is comprised of a pair of Spanish artists, Pichi and Avo, whose innovative work and collaborative spirit have received critical acclaim and international popularity. They officially formed in 2007 within the thriving graffiti art scene in Valencia, Spain. The pair dabbled in various styles for years however, after a process of experimentation, PichiAvo landed on what form they felt resonated the most: the combination of graffiti and classical art. They employ painting, sculpture and installation to create utterly unique works that represent them authentically. While PichiAvo both love classical themes, they also wanted their work to reflect their Spanish heritage as Spain has a long-standing connection with Greek and Roman mythology.

The work itself ignites an interaction between art, sculpture, and architecture. PichiAvo reminds their audience of the manner in which modernity and tradition can bolster each other; the spontaneity of graffiti reinvigorates classical works whilst paying tribute to their original state and maintaining their relevance. Drawing on popular and lesser-known mythological figures is an effective, impactful way of telling stories and educating their audience. PichiAvo references iconic works on a massive scale; mythical figures drape themselves across entire buildings to provoke thought and reinterpretation.

Hippolyta by PichiAvo. Located at the Hellenic Museum.

Many classical works, now depicted as white, were originally covered in bright swathes of paint. PichiAvo is aware of this and honours it through their work, reimagining these sculptures to be as bright and dynamic as they were in their heyday. PichiAvo hopes that their work will help to destigmatize street art and inspire viewers to lend a bit more legitimacy to the genre.

The Hellenic Museum commission of a trilogy of works from the artists is titled ‘Renegades.’ The bold installation depict three well-known women in Greek myth - Medusa, Phryne and Hippolyta. The commission reflects on how women in mythology were represented, whether they were a monstrous gorgon, a notorious courtesan or an Amazonian queen. The works align with the values of the artists and of the Hellenic Museum, paying tribute to these powerful women, offer a new reading, and form a sort of new mythology infused with modern thinking.

In a highly digitised world now grappling with a pandemic, we find ourselves struggling to connect or exist in the present, let alone connect with our past. By mixing the eternal, timeless quality of classical art with the vibrancy of graffiti, PichiAvo forges a scintillating connection between sculpture and street-art, inserting classical works in an urban setting with provocative, fantastic results.

Now a part of the Hellenic Museum’s permanent collection, the installation Renegades pays homage to the masters of the classical world and contributes to the iconic street art the Melbourne CBD is famous for. Viewing Renegades is an immersive, impactful encounter; visit the Hellenic Museum to see an evocative explication of the tension and interplay between the past and the present.


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