The Museum of Contemporary Art of Monterrey presents the first solo exhibition in Mexico of the Cuban collective comprised of artists Marco Castillo and Dagoberto Rodríguez. Through the use of watercolors, sculptures, videos and installations, their pieces question the functionality of the objects and their possible relationship with different ideologies and political stances. With a career that spans more than twenty years, Los Carpinteros have captured the public´s attention with impeccably produced pieces that are not only often humorous in nature, but are also open to multiple interpretations and interrogations. Their work allows us to catch a glimpse of the socio-political and cultural context of their birthplace while at the same time inviting the spectator to reflect upon their own ideological convictions.
The collective was created in 1992 while they were studying at the Havana Institute of Art, and at the time, Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea was also a member, but in 2003 he decided to embark upon a solo career.The lack of access to the materials needed for their work, as a result of the difficult economic situation across the country, led them to be more creative and to recycle all kinds of materials.Their work shows an inclination towards architecture that continues to this day and one clear example is the piece titled Sala de lectura, 2010, whose circular structure references the style of panopticon prisons designed by philosopher Jeremy Bentham towards the end of the XVII century, and which was implemented in Cuba during the 1920s in the Modelo prison. Los Carpinteros modified the original concept of maintaining order in a prison and turned it into a way of offering the potential reader open access to the book shelves.Watercolor drawings have been an important part of their creative process and they use them as the basis of some projects that end up as installations and sculptures, as well as spaces where they can showcase their ideas and reflections. Some examples are Celosia poliédrica posada I, 2015, Cabilla cabilla tríptico, 2014 and Penumbra I, 2008.Part of their work is based upon the manipulation of scale. The artists modify the size of common objects in order to give them new meaning. Clavos torcidos, 2013, is made up of several metallic sculptures that resemble enormous oxidized nails that have been roughly and carelessly taken out of their original place.On the other hand, Faro tumbado, 2006, replicates a smaller scaled lighthouse that is lying on the floor in darkness and where the only source of illumination is the light it emits.The exhibition includes large scale installation such as Tomates, 2013, where the artists themselves throw hundreds of tomatoes against the wall, only to place porcelain ones afterwards; Candela, 2013 which is made up of the silhouettes of flames illuminated by red LED lights; and 17m, 2015, a co-production with MARCO and Ivorypress Madrid where 200 black suits with a star cut out in the middle, hang from a metal bar that is 17 meters long