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Los Carpinteros

Cuban

Biography

The Cuban artist collective Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters) was formed in 1992 and has since produced some of the most important contemporary art in Latin America. Originally comprised of Marco Castillo, Dagoberto Rodriguez and Alexandre Arrechea (who left the group in June 2003), the trio abandoned the concept of individual authorship and instead worked in the tradition of guild and artisan workshops. Their technically sophisticated drawings and sculptures are primarily inspired by design and architectural constructions, such as desks, chairs, armoires and other pieces of furniture. In illustrating seemingly banal objects, Los Carpinteros comment on materialism, highlighting the practicality as well as the uselessness of the depicted objects.

Insights

  • In 2000, Los Carpinteros presented Transportable City at the Havana Biennale. Although essentially a group of tents, the nylon structures resemble churches, lighthouses, factories and skyscrapers and are thus at odds with the mobility and temporality associated with tents.

  • Their work Home (2011) resembles a caravan in form but is constructed out of illusory red brick, which correlates it with fixed abodes. As with Transportable City, Los Carpinteros thus contest the structure's implied transience.

  • Los Carpinteros have had many solo exhibitions including at the Thyssen-Bornesmisza in Madrid, the Kunstmuseum in Thun and the Faena Art Center in Buenos Aires.

  • Their works are held in many important museums around the world including the Centre Pompidou, the Daros Foundation, the Farber Collection of Contemporary Cuban Art, the Hirshhorn Museum, the MoMA, the Tate Modern and the Thyssen-Bornesmisza in Vienna.

"We work to the limit of what can be done, of what can be used but is also extravagant."

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