Galeria Nara Roesler presents Refazer
, Alexandre Arrechea’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, starting its 2017 exhibition calendar. The show features 30 of the acclaimed Cuban artist’s creations. A founder and former member of Cuba-based art collective Los Carpinteros (from 1991 to 2003), Arrechea will exhibit a new project at the São Paulo venue, retracing the ideas that drove his work for the past four years, including large murals applied directly onto the gallery wall, drawings/watercolors, and sculptures. According to him, Refazer resumes dealing with the questions of maps and fragments, both of which are central to his inquiries.
Designed to come together as a big installation, the pieces in Refazer
converse with one another, and they draw a parallel with the process of preparing the soil for cultivation. “My goal is to develop processes analogous to painting, sculpture and installation by keeping the surface of my work amenable to being transformed again, the same as with plowed lands,” says the artist, going on to say that this action repeats itself with each new sowing, and that is why he chose to install the artworks in superimposed fashion.
The show’s starting point will be a big mural mimicking a plowed field. The watercolors and objects will be set against it. Each of the elements overlying the mural will work as a novel statement, a new representation of the previous terrain, and therefore a new territory that ushers in a new possibility. “With that formula I could generate a map of endless variations, a circular method of understanding reality – one that subverts itself time and again, and where each art piece constitutes a statement that complements rather than denies the one that precedes it.”
Alexandre Arrechea’s oeuvre stands out for his use of visual metaphors for current societal issues like inequality, cultural segregation, and the controversial place of art in a globalized, media-centered society. Just like many of his contemporaries, he manipulates symbols and materials in an ambivalent way so spectators walk away from his work with no specific viewpoint. Today’s widespread surveillance systems and obsession over control were a major source of inspiration for the pieces the artist created from 2003 on. His research into the public-private relationship led to an output that deals with loss of privacy, frailty, memory, and the failure of control and power. Works such as The Garden of Mistrust
(2003-2005) and Perpetual Free Entrance
(2006) are to an extent concerned with issues of accessibility or approach as pertains to works of art.
His creation for the 2012 Havana Biennial was a steel house comprising eleven sections. Either the length of the walls or the separation between them would change on a daily basis, mirroring the ups and downs of the Dow Jones economic index. In 2013, he occupied Park Avenue, taking New York City by surprise with 10 large-scale sculptures that represented iconic local buildings including the Chrysler Building, Citicorp Center, and the Empire State Building. In 2015, for the latest edition of the Cuban Biennial, the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana housed O Mapa do Silêncio (The Map of Silence), a major showing of his videos, installations, paintings, and panels which affirmed his idea of silence: “there can be good or bad reasons for silence, and this exhibition strives to be a map of multiple silences.” Arrechea was named ‘best Cuban artist’ by Fundación Farber on the strength of this show.
about the artist
Alexandre Arrechea (born 1970, Trinidad, Cuba) lives and works in New York City. Arrechea holds a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana, Cuba (1994). A founder and former member (from 1991 to 2003) of Cuba-based art collective Los Carpinteros, he employs visual metaphors for recurrent social issues like inequality, deprivation of rights, and the competition for a place in the arts in a global, media-driven society. Since resuming his solo practice, he has focused on large-scale sculptures and installations that create surveillance and control, which he sketches out in watercolors first. His practice spans installation, painting, and the use of what he considers to be objects that contain "elements of truth." These includes found mementos of places, such as detritus, wall fragments, and measuring tape. He is best known for monumental projects like NOLIMITS (2013), a set of ten sculptures shown on Park Avenue that were inspired by iconic NYC buildings, twisted up and folded over like pliable garden hoses. In 2015, Arrechea was named Best Artist of the Year by the Howard and Patricia Farber Foundation in Havana, during the 12th Havana Biennial. In 2016, the Coachella Music Festival in Palm Springs, California commissioned work from him, and his Katrina Chairs elevated the community as they referenced Hurricane Katrina, which hit the US Gulf coast in 2005 at wind speeds as high as 127 km/h. Arrechea had solo exhibitions at venues including the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana; the PS1 Contemporary Art Center in New York; the Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA); and the New Museum in New York.
about the gallery
Galeria Nara Roesler is a leading Brazilian contemporary art gallery, representing seminal Brazilian and Latin American artists who emerged in the 1950s as well as preeminent mid-career and emerging artists who dialog with the currents put forth by these historical figures. Founded by Nara Roesler in 1989, the gallery has consistently fomented curatorial practice while preserving the utmost quality in art production. This has actively been put into practice through a select and rigorous exhibitions program created in close collaboration with its artists; the implementation and fostering of the Roesler Hotel program, a platform for curatorial projects; and continued support of artists beyond the gallery space, working with institutions and curators in offsite shows. In 2012 the gallery doubled its São Paulo exhibition space, in 2014 expanded to Rio, and in 2015 opened in New York City, continuing its mission to provide the best platform for its artists to show their work.
Press release courtesy Galeria Nara Roesler.