Images
LOS CARPINTEROS
Towers from left to right:
Tower CR -V2
Tower CR -VP23
Tower CR -V10
Tower CR -VT30
Tower CR -V7
Bricks, cement
each 450 x 150 x 150 cm (177 1/8 x 59 x 59 inch)

Installation view:
"Art and the City", Escher-Wyss-Platz, Zurich, 2012

One focus of Los Carpinteros' models providing food for thought is architectural language; this also dominates the artists' work process. Accordingly, their large-format watercolors are often preliminary studies for installations. Moreover, their intense preoccupation with architecture reminds us of the changes in their homeland, Cuba, where increasingly, the traditional brick houses have been replaced by concrete constructions, a process manifested in Los Carpinteros' oeuvre as a whole, both their graphic and their sculptural endeavors. For their five-part sculptural intervention “Catedrales” on Escher Wyss Platz they have reverted to brick. In the 20th century, this district, now characterized by massive urban changes, consisted mainly of industrial building and warehouses, for example, one belonging to an engineering company, Escher Wyss AG. The area is now one of the city's major traffic intersections. It was into this densely packed context that Los Carpinteros placed their monumental brick effort, a location specific item, intended to provoke a dialogue with the industrial past and the workers of the time. The concentrated, introverted formal vocabulary of these reddish-brown monoliths represented an exact opposite to the location's restless bustle and take up a position within the urban landscape.
Their manipulation of the scale of things and of the materials used for the originial objects is part of the strategy: thus, in “Catedrales”, stainless steel cordless drill bits of a bout 20 m mutate into giant brick structures 4.5 meters high. These massive constructions that taper upward look like sacred buildings towering up into the heavens. They could be seen either as architecture or as sculptures. bricks are the oldest and most durable building material and attest to stability and longevity. In this condensed form as a sculpture the works redefine the space they occupy in combinations with the surrounding buildings.
For financial reasons the companion piece to this work, created in 2007 in front of the entrance to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana as a temporary three-part sculpture, could not be taken down again, and in an irony of fate has since remained in place as a permanent sculpture. - Helen Hirsch

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