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Miami

A conversation with Alexandre Arrechea

Curated by Faena Art

Direlia Lazo: Why The Old Man and the Sea?

Alexandre Arrechea: The book’s protagonist Santiago has a monolog that I keep coming back to in these times of pandemic. In some ways, we’ve all been experiencing the same internal dialog, fighting uncertainty, holding a dialog with death from various different viewpoints while keeping the desire alive to emerge triumphant in spite of the circumstances. I found it very enriching to come back to this classic and revisit Santiago’s thoughts as he battles with the marlin far out at sea: an epic of resilience.

DL: After months of isolation, the concepts of public space, distance, and proximity have been resignified. Dreaming with Lions encapsulates many of these thoughts in a simple, subtle, playful gesture. Tell us about the origin of the piece and how you weave these ideas into the work.

AA: Whenever I’m faced with this kind of commission, my first step is to understand the space, dissect the place in all possible dimensions, then think about how to enhance possible dialogs by intervening in that space. In the case of Dreaming with Lions, I start with an all-pervasive item in the landscape of Faena Beach: the beach towel. Building on that, I organize them into this kind of library, referencing this tale of resilience told in Ernest Hemingway’s book in two iconic quotes. It’s a very simple gesture enhanced by the narratives present in the space and the moment we’re going through. I’ve always been interested in working with the curiosity of the viewer as another element in the work and that their interaction with it reveals the different layers of meaning that go into its construction. In this case, at first glance, the viewer recognizes the towels and then the phrases formed by towels begin to spell out a story, taking the space into dimensions beyond the physical space to create different intellectual or emotional impacts on people. I wanted to leaven the philosophical background with an apparently casual gesture, as if it were the result of an action to counteract the litany of routine. It’s taken us a while to come to terms with this time of pandemic: we couldn’t take it in at first, so we went through the different stages of estrangement, rupture, recognition, mourning, and acceptance before finally dropping anchor in the desire to survive and build a new reality.

DL: Let’s talk a little more about how this work is linked to your recent output and how you use architectural references to activate other readings of the spaces we inhabit.

AA: My exploration of space contemplates cultural resonances implicit in architecture, from design to social value, and how these condition its various readings. This approach to dissecting architectural anatomies and spaces through my drawings and installations explores the possibility of the multiple conflicts embedded in them as result of the many decisions “hidden” in their structures. The most immediate reference is taken from the Faena District itself: that pink amphitheater that greets you as you come into the Faena Forum. In a way, the installation on the beach picks up on the circularity typical of a familiar space, with the difference here that the gesture has been to aerate the self-absorption of a closed form and open it up to the sea. In the initial discussions, we explored the idea of a labyrinthine structure corresponding to the moment of introspection and confusion we experienced mid-year. Now we’ve moved on and can see everything with more perspective, feel less lost and better prepared to embrace the ups and downs of these cyclic situations. It’s connected in some ways to a recent series in which I explore the fractal side of circular structures by extending the path of the lines beyond their original morphology. This piece is another way of exploring how the delimitation of a space also involves opening it outwards.

DL: The idea of striking out beyond physical form and imbuing the works with the subjective context of the place where you make them is a constant across your installations. Where does this interest come from?

AA: One story springs to mind told by Robert Irwin, who we know today as one of the pioneers of site-specific architectural interventions, but whose artistic practice back in the ’50s was restricted to the canvas. On one occasion, Irwin was looking at one canvas and noticed the shadow cast along its edge. This is a very simple observation but one that triggered his expansion onto spatial interventions through the understanding that space can be freed using non-physical components. Irwin’s shadow contains all the subjective contextual aspects that enrich the piece. In my Katrina Chairs installation exhibited in Coachella (2016), it was important to challenge the viewer with a phenomenon that had marked recent American history and that they may not have known about. In this case, the gesture involved recontextualizing a local history in order to sharpen collective awareness. Rendering these subjective landscapes in my work is a way of keeping the dialog going and transcending the immediacy of the moment, of letting it feed off those experiences, and trusting that their presence and interaction with the public will provide incentives for new ways of observing or recalling the context from which it emerges.

Direlia Lazo, Director of Exhibitions Faena Art

BIO
Alexandre Arrechea’s work comprises typically large-scale watercolor drawings, sculptures, installations and videos that debate such issues as history, memory, politics and the power relations of the urban space, while establishing a direct dialog with the architecture around them. He is internationally renowned as one of the founding members of the Cuban collective, Los Carpinteros [The Carpenters], active between 1991 and 2003. Embarking on his solo career in the same year, Arrechea is widely recognized for NOLIMITS (2013), a monumental project composed of ten sculptures inspired by iconic buildings in New York City and erected along Park Avenue, and Katrina Chairs (2016), erected at the Coachella Music Festival, Palm Springs, California, USA

Calendar

exhibitions

O Bicho Suspenso Na Paisagen

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Los Carpinteros

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Paraísos Desplegables

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

The Liminal Space Trilogy

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Estudio Jurídico Mercosur

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Fyodor's Performance Carousel

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

GPS / Geometría Poética Social

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Mendoza walking

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

ángeles veloces arcanos fugaces

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Once with Me (Preview)

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Forms from Life

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Solar Light Geometry

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

ángeles veloces arcanos fugaces

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

A Sight To Behold

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Return to Tomorrow

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Once with Me, Once without Me

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Graciela Hasper

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

No Permanent Address

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Alejandro Guzmán: Creative Misunderstandings

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Alina Ibragimova & Cédric Tiberghien

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Biennale of Moving Images

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Boris Mitić

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Karimah Ashadu

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Evangelia Kranioti

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Alessio Di Zio

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Sophia Al Maria

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Kerry Tribe

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

About the curators of Biennale of Moving Images 2016

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Jenna Hasse

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Salomé Lamas

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Wu Tsang

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Bertille Bak

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Biennale of Moving Images

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Brian Bress

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Emily Wardill

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Massimo D’Anolfi & Martina Parenti

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Yuri Ancarani

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Interview: Bodil Furu

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

About Biennale of Moving Images

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Biennale of Moving Images

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Biennale of Moving Images

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Biennale of Moving Images

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Cuerpo Lunfardo: Cecilia Bengolea, Jimena Croceri and Amalia Pica

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Ediacaran Mind

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

The Sinking of the Taj Mahal

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

120 Degree Arc East-Southeast

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Miami Art Week 2017

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Franchise Freedom

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

ángeles veloces arcanos fugaces

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Thresholding (En el Umbral)

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

El Internacional Tapas Bar & Restaurant

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

El Internacional. Calendar

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

El Internacional Tapas Bar & Restaurant

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

El Internacional. Archaeological Sandwich

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Noche de Celebración de Gemelos

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Melodies of Certain Damage (Opus 2)

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

FAENA FESTIVAL: THIS IS NOT AMERICA

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Un bárbaro entre las sierras by Juan José Cambre

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Zonez V4 by Suzi Analogue

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

TabomBass by Vivian Caccuri

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Faena Festival: This is not America

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Coreografías de Sal - OSíAS YANOV

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

UNA CONVERSACIÓN CON OSÍAS YANOV

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

SALINAS Y SIRENAS

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Jornadas de Sal: Taller impartido por Osías Yanov

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Coreografías de Sal - Osías Yanov

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Women in the World

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Camille Henrot

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Myrlande Constant

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Antonia Wright

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

FAENA FESTIVAL: AGENDA

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Faith Ringgold

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Andrea Büttner

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Francis Mallman + Paul Qui

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

The Propeller Group

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Pedro Neves Marques

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Osías Yanov and Lulo Demarco

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

FAENA FESTIVAL: THE LAST SUPPER

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Grethell Rasúa

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Gabriel Chaile

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Christian Jankowski

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Sophia Al-Maria

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

FAENA ART COURSES

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

But man is not made for defeat

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015

exhibitions

Alexandre Arrechea: DREAMING WITH LIONS

12 01, 2015 to 12 06, 2015