HomeWhat's HotHouse of artist Carlos Garaicoa, a small part of Havana in Madrid

House of artist Carlos Garaicoa, a small part of Havana in Madrid

Anyone who enters the home of Carlos Garaicoa, 57, Havana, immediately knows what’s going on. “Change,” says a piece of terrazzo embedded in the floor of a hall where a Cuban-Spanish artist renovated a spacious apartment near the opera in central Madrid. A house where people constantly gather and where Garaikoa lives. His wife, musician Mahe Marty, and her children settled in Spain after living in Spain for more than 10 years. In addition to descriptive functions, this sign provides emotional stimulation. “This is a little piece of Havana, inspired by the terrazzo that used to be placed at the entrance of the store,” Garaicoa reports. “This is also part of a piece I made a long time ago, a tapestry that says ‘Rebellion, Battle, Change.’ Change remains here.”

This term has special meaning for conceptual artists who may not be interested in finding a recognizable style or repeating a successful formula. He has created paintings, videos, sculptures, and installations that are formally diverse but always deliberate. Several pieces of debris scattered around the house testify to this. A rug with the message “The battle belongs to everyone.” It’s everyone’s fight”, his sculpture with two Murano glass figurines joined by metal tubes, or a three-dimensional painting representing two geodesic domes, was created recently and could be said to be the work of a variety of artists. However, they all bear Garaicore’s signature. In addition to those, the works of other writers he respects or knows.

Living room decorated with 20th century designer furniture and the iconic Isamu Noguchi table. The carpet and glass sculpture is by Garraicoa himself and is part of the installation “Jardin Fragile” he created for the 2019 Venice Biennale.

All this, along with carefully selected 20th century designer furniture and bespoke wardrobes, is integrated into a former student residence. The renovation of the house was carried out by architect Juan Herreros, an experienced writer in this field. He is artistically active in projects such as the Munch Museum in Oslo. “We proposed the reform as a three-way dialogue between Juan, Mahe and myself,” Garaicoa said. “He understands the needs of art just like anyone else and has a Scandinavian, rational look that complements ours. Therefore, although it is not luxurious, a luxurious house has been completed.”

On February 24th, his fourth solo exhibition, π=3.1416, opened at Madrid’s Elba Benitez Gallery, where he will present his recent work on paintings and paintings created in collaboration with carpenters and painters. We are planning to exhibit hybrid works of sculpture. A car and a model enclosed in a glass jar next to his studio in the Carabanchel district. During that time, he participated in the Cuenca Biennale (Ecuador) with a large-scale installation. And in the summer, Mahe Marti will open the Lerici Festival of Classical Music (Italy) with Abismo, a video of a live performance of Olivier Messiaen’s clarinet music. “At this age, he wants to give himself the pleasure of doing what he loves,” he explains. A retrospective exhibition of his works is scheduled for May at CAAM in Gran Canaria, which will reflect this variable and joyful trajectory.

What all these works have in common is an interest in politics and architecture and science. “I’m not interested in art as a mere object, so my work is a combination of mathematics, geometry, composition and rhythm,” he explains. “There’s an influence of the Russian avant-garde, like Rodchenko and Tatlin. But it’s also 20th-century minimal and conceptual like Morris, Kosuth, and the Bruisers.”

Before devoting himself professionally to art, Garaicore completed professional training in thermodynamics. In 1984, at the age of 17, he participated in the 1st Havana Biennale of Art, where he met Chilean painter Roberto Matta, whose work inspired him to pursue that path. He studied at the Supérieure des Arts from his 21st year to his 24th year, which coincided with a decisive period for the Cuban scene. He was so enthusiastic that by the time he finished his studies he was already pursuing an international career. ”

After traveling to other countries, including Switzerland and the United States, and living in Brazil, he settled in Madrid in 2007 for practical reasons with Mahe and his Argentinian-born son Rodrigo. “The difficulty of traveling as Cubans was traumatic for us, so we wanted to make things easier for them,” he says. “The second Santiago was born here. He is 100 percent from Madrid.”

By that time, he was already an internationally recognized artist. He has participated in the Kassel Documenta and the Biennales of Venice, São Paulo and Liverpool, and exhibited at MoMA in New York. He bought an apartment and a studio in the Malasaña district, but he never lost his ties to Cuba through his previous studio, which was still active. However, he was so dissatisfied with the political and social situation on the island that he did not initially consider returning to it. The open hope he saw in the relationship between Barack Obama and Raul Castro changed his mind. “He returned in 2009 and together with Mahe founded the residency Artista por Artista, where they awarded scholarships to Cuban artists and Cuban artists. other countries. . It lasted 6 years. Unfortunately, we are returning to a regressive moment where authoritarianism is strengthened and many artists are persecuted and imprisoned. There is little room for thinking about dialogue and culture and building a nation. However, I continue to have great love for Cuba. I believe in the art that is born there. Still, I think it’s better to do something than not do it, so I’d like to go back to the project. ”

kitchen. One of his most prized works is the Seville painter Miki's Real Ceramics.

Meanwhile, his current home and studio, where he has lived for three years, serves as a meeting place for a community of creatives from Spain, Cuba and other Latin American countries. “I always thought that if you have any success, you have an obligation to share it,” he says. “Mahe and I like having people around us and having dinners, parties, and meetings to build community and strengthen the scene. First in Havana, then in Madrid.” Two years ago, he opened a studio. Relocated to Carabanchel (also renovated by Juan Herreros), the working-class neighborhood has recently reached an artistic peak, thanks to creators and gallery owners opening up their spaces. Prosperity of culture and alleviation of tensions. “Only now do we see that Carabanchel is on track, and we are trying to contribute to that,” Garaicoa says. “I have a reputation for throwing good parties, so I came up with the idea of ​​organizing a lecture using paella to bring people together.”The last event was held by a young Cuban who is my assistant at the studio. It was organized around an exhibition by the figure painter Hector Honel.”Meanwhile, the former studio on Calle Puebla was given to gallery owner Cristian Gundin, who converted it into a branch of his El Apartamento rooms. It opened in Madrid (originally in Havana), where it exhibits works by other Cuban artists such as Yaima Carrazana. Levi Horta.

Other Latin American artists of his generation also reside in Spain and, like him, have contributed to the richness of the Spanish cultural scene, such as Teresa Margoles from Mexico, Patrick Hamilton from Chile, and Alexander Apostol from Venezuela. . Their careers and lives intersected for decades before coming together in the same country. “The funny thing is, we have been his colleagues for 30 years and we have all come to live here for the same amount of time,” Carlos continues. “Spain has been very positive for us. But this intercontinental cultural movement has also benefited Spain, because most of Spain’s international artists are Latin American. still considers us not Spaniards, but rather people of our country of origin. I have paid taxes in Spain for 15 years and my children are Spanish and have Spanish passports. Cuba Even though I only live there for 20 days a year, I am still a Cuban artist no matter how you look at it. For the first time, an artist from outside Spain like Sandra Gamarra will represent Spain at the Venice Biennale. But this is already happening. Sandra has lived in Spain longer than me and is more Spanish than anyone else. At university we should be studied as Spanish artists. My problem is the same problem as Spain. My only problem in Cuba is nostalgia.”

Source: Elpais



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