Mythology and modernity: Giacomo Bufarini explores mankind's ancient past

Giacaomo Bufarini serves up a reminder of our dark, mysterious and ancient past in Downtown LA

Italian artist Giacomo Bufarini has installed a series of mammoth sculptural heads at Howard Griffin Gallery in Downtown LA as part of his second solo show, Man Is God
Italian artist Giacomo Bufarini has installed a series of mammoth sculptural heads at Howard Griffin Gallery in Downtown LA as part of his second solo show, Man Is God
(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

Peering menacingly out onto the streets from the windows of Howard Griffin Gallery, Giacomo Bufarini's monumental sculptural heads make for an intriguing spectacle in downtown LA. Seemingly poking their heads up through the concrete floor, submerged from the neck downwards, these mysterious, multicoloured giants are part of Bufarini's new solo show, Man Is God. 'Giacomo Bufarini is a pioneer of the European muralism wave of the 90s and 00s,' says gallery owner Richard Howard-Griffin of the London-based street artist. 'In terms of scale, it's the largest show that we have ever done and truly takes over the entire gallery space in Downtown LA.'

Having made his name under the pseudonym 'RUN' in the 1990s by creating street art on the walls of abandoned buildings across the globe, Bufarini made the transition from the street to the gallery last year with his first solo show at Howard-Griffin's London gallery space.

The heads, Griffin tells us, are made entirely out of paper by a family of Mexican piñata makers that Bufarini met in LA using old techniques passed down from generation to generation.

As well as the totemic heads, the gallery's main space has been lined with the Italian artist's large ceremonial banners in vivid colours that cover the walls from floor to ceiling. Oscillating between the neolithic and the modern, with industrial skylines layered against Pagan symbolism and iconography, the banners explore the origins of human civilisation and communicate that in the 21st Century, despite our evolution, our basic nature remains the same.

To the back of the gallery, a series of canvas works depicting natural symbolism such as the crescent moon, the sun, flora and fauna, evoke tribal flags, while a collection of monotypes depict abstracted versions of the sculptural heads.

'The title Man Is God is ambiguous,' explains Bufarini. 'What I believe is that man is not God. God can be found outside in nature and is the sensation that we are here. The heads inspired the title of the exhibition because like other ancestral civilsations the building of human heads is for celebrating human life.'

The heads are made entirely out of paper by a family of Mexican piñata makers that Bufarini met in LA using old techniques passed down from generation to generation.

The heads are made entirely out of paper by a family of Mexican piñata makers that Bufarini met in LA using old techniques passed down from generation to generation.

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

The heads are showcased alongside a series of large ceremonial banners that cover the walls from floor to ceiling

The heads are showcased alongside a series of large ceremonial banners that cover the walls from floor to ceiling

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

Oscillating between the neolithic and the modern, with industrial skylines layered against Pagan symbolism and iconography, the banners explore the origins of human civilisation

Oscillating between the neolithic and the modern, with industrial skylines layered against Pagan symbolism and iconography, the banners explore the origins of human civilisation

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

At the back of the space, Bufarini has created a collection of canvas works that evoke tribal flags. Depicting natural symbolism such as the crescent moon, the sun, flora and fauna, the works seek to remind us of a time when mankind was more closely connected to nature

At the back of the space, Bufarini has created a collection of canvas works that evoke tribal flags. Depicting natural symbolism such as the crescent moon, the sun, flora and fauna, the works seek to remind us of a time when mankind was more closely connected to nature

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

Displayed alongside the canvas works are a collection of monotypes that depict abstracted versions of the sculptural heads

Displayed alongside the canvas works are a collection of monotypes that depict abstracted versions of the sculptural heads

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

Clearly visible from the street, the forboding heads stare out from within the gallery

Clearly visible from the street, the forboding heads stare out from within the gallery

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

A pioneer of the European muralism wave of the 90s and 00s, London-based Bufarini (also known as RUN) has created murals in cities across the world

A pioneer of the European muralism wave of the 90s and 00s, London-based Bufarini (also known as RUN) has created murals in cities across the world

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

The exhibtion at Howard Griffin Gallery in LA follows the artist’s inaugural solo show at the gallery’s London outpost last year

The exhibtion at Howard Griffin Gallery in LA follows the artist’s inaugural solo show at the gallery’s London outpost last year

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

Gallery owner, Richard Howard-Griffin comments, ’It’s the largest show that we have ever done and truly takes over the entire gallery space in Downtown LA.’

Gallery owner, Richard Howard-Griffin comments, ’It’s the largest show that we have ever done and truly takes over the entire gallery space in Downtown LA.’

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

Man Is God will be on show at Howard Griffin Gallery Los Angeles until the 31 October, 2015

Man Is God will be on show at Howard Griffin Gallery Los Angeles until the 31 October, 2015

(Image credit: Marcus Peel)

INFORMATION

Man Is God is on show at Howard Griffin Gallery Los Angeles (opens in new tab) until the 31 October, 2015

Photography: Marcus Peel

ADDRESS

Howard Griffin Gallery
410 South Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

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