Los Carpinteros: Marco Antonio Castillo Valdes (b. 1971) and Dagoberto Rodríguez Sanchez (b. 1969)
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 1992, the trio (consisting of Marco Castillo, Dagoberto Rodríguez) 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 among object and function as well as practicality and uselessness.
For Los Carpinteros, drawing has played an integral role as a mock technical draft or form of a blue print that suggests not only a process of artistic elaboration but also a form of architectural or carpentry plans.
Los Carpinteros’s works 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, Cuba; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; the Thyssen-Bornemisza Contemporary Art Foundation, Vienna, Austria; and the Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico. They have been the subject of solo exhibitions globally at institutions such as Matadero, Madrid, Spain; Kunstverein Hannover, Hannover, Germany; Kunstmuseum Thun, Switzerland; Faena Arts Center, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; and Es Baluard: Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Palma, Mallorca, Spain. They have participated in U.S. exhibitions at the New Museum, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art in General, New York; Artists Space, New York; and Arizona State University, Pheonix, Arizona. Los Carpinteros are the subject of a monograph recently published by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, which gives a comprehensive insight into their artistic practices from 2003-2010.
During Art Basel Miami Beach in 2012, Los Carpinteros presented Güiro, a highly acclaimed art bar installation produced in collaboration with Absolut Art Bureau.