The Cuban based artist duo speaks about their contemporary art practice, emphasizing the place of built form within their work.
The Havana-based collective LOS CARPINTEROS (The Carpenters) has created some of the most important work to emerge from Cuba in the past decade. Formed in 1991, the trio (consisting of Marco Castillo, Dagoberto Rodríguez, and, until his departure in June 2003, Alexandre Arrechea) adopted their name in 1994, deciding to renounce the notion of individual authorship and refer back to an older guild tradition of artisans and skilled laborers. Interested in the intersection between art and society, the group merges architecture, design, and sculpture in unexpected and often humorous ways. They create installations and drawings which negotiate the space between the functional and the nonfunctional. The group's elegant and mordantly humorous sculptures, drawings, and installations draw their inspiration from the physical world—particularly that of furniture. Their carefully crafted works use humor to exploit a visual syntax that sets up contradictions between object and function as well as practicality and uselessness.
Los Carpinteros' pieces are part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), the Museo de Bellas Artes (Havana), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), the Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary Art Foundation (Vienna), and the Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo (Mexico City). They have participated in U.S. exhibitions at the New Museum, P.S. 1, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Art in General, Artists Space and Arizona State University.
Moderated by Michelle Jacques
MICHELLE JACQUES is a curator and writer based in Toronto where she currently holds the position of Associate Curator, Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her curatorial projects at the AGO have included Luis Jacob: Habitat (2005-2006); Jennifer Steinkamp: Loom (2005); Present Tense: Kori Newkirk (2005); and Video Primer, a year-long series of consecutive and thematic video programs (2001-2002). Independent projects have included At the Corner of Time and Place, Nuit Blanche Toronto, (2007); Digitalized: Inside the Electronic Dream, Gallery TPW, (2000); and here, a group exhibition of local emerging artists, Robert Birch Gallery, (1999). Recent writings include "The Artist-run Centre as Tactical Training Unit," in decentre: concerning artist-run culture (2008); "Some Thoughts on Speech Bubbles," in Pro Forma: Language/Text/Art (2007); and "Art and Institutions: An interview with Janna Graham and Anthony Kiendl," in the September 2007 issue of Fuse.
Presented by the Latin American-Canadian Art Projects (LACAP) and Prefix.