Los Carpinteros: Conga with samba rhythms

/ 1 March, 2017

(…) The group Los Carpinteros was formed in 1992 by those who still were students at the Instituto Superior de Arte, Havana: Alexandre Jesús Arrechea Zambrano, Marco Antonio Castillo Valdés and Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez. They functioned as a trio until 2003, when Arrechea leave the group to continue his creative process now in solitary. From that year, Marco Antonio and Dagoberto gave continuity to the artistic work of Los Carpinteros.

Their former steps in Brazil includes the participation in 2002 of the 25th International Sao Paulo Biennial, in 2003 in the Fourth Biennial of Visual Arts of Mercosur in Porto Alegre, in 2006 in the group exhibition of Cuban art also at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, as well as exhibitions in the gallery representing them and in SP Art, the greatest art fair of this country that takes place every year.

The group, today with a marked international acknowledgement, highlighted in its beginning during the Fifth Havana Biennial, 1994, recognized by them as the first great international exhibition and decisive stepping stone to the appreciation and dissemination of their work. Let us remember that this generation of Cuban artists, still students at the Instituto Superior de Arte, exhibited in the Havana Biennial—directed by Llilian Llanes—as the national representatives due, in part, to the exodus of Cuban artists from former generations, with a more consolidated work, although taking into account, of course, the very values that, as a generation, identified Llanes in them. Let’s also consider that the projection and world recognition of these youngsters of the Biennial of 1994 have surpassed those of the artists of the so-called Generación de los Ochenta (Generation of the 1980s).

Los Carpinteros: Objeto Vital, curated by Rodolfo de Athayde, has a bilingual catalogue with texts by the curator, Suset Sánchez, Luisa Duarte and Jorge Rodríguez, besides an interview with Los Carpinteros, and incorporates novel educational activities. The exhibition is a retrospective of the visual journey of the collective, and includes works in all the supports used in these years by the artists. A series of pieces made in the beginning of the group, still integrated by Arrechea, initiated the tour of the show. Thus it successively continues until reaching the most recent works, many of them produced in Brazil. The more than fifty works included in the exhibition belong to private collections—also those of the artists themselves—and public ones, including here the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana.

In the works, the diverse aesthetic-visual operatives that Los Carpinteros manage in their consolidated and particular creative alphabet become evident.

Works as Dos pesos (Two Pesos), 1992; Havana Country Club, 1994; Un minuto (A Minute), 2002; Dos Camas y Pódium (Two Beds and Podio), 2008; Cuarteto (Quartet), 2011; El Pueblo se Equivoca (The People is Mistaken), 2015; Casa de las tazas (House of the Cups), 2016, are counted among the objects and installations presented, together with the videos Conga irreversible (Irreversible Conga), 2012 and Polaris, 2014. Also diverse watercolors of indisputable quality and acuteness as Nuevo archivo para la reorganización de la agricultura y los campos de Cuba (New Archive for the Reorganization of Agriculture and the Fields of Cuba), 1997; Nueve tambores cuadrados (Nine Square Drums), 2011; and La Piel Roja (The Red Skin), 2015—alluding to the Brazilian political parties. The excellent selection contributed to the massive and positive answer of the audience and the press, and to the extensive diffusion in social networks. (…)

Sao Paulo, summer of 2017

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