Press Release


Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa. Showing here in London for the first time in a public institution, Carlos Garaicoa reflects upon "the city"—its limitations, potential and possibilities—as a physical infrastructure, social network and political space in this exhibition comprised of large-scale installations, sculptures, video and photography.















 




















 





























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Carlos Garaicoa

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London (U.K.)

13.04 - 03.06.2018


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Carlos Garaicoa, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2018. All Rights Reserved

Often taking as his starting point the urban environment and therefore architecture—particularly those of Havana and Madrid, the two cities where the artist both lives and works—Garaicoa documents city landscapes, creating works steeped in provocative commentary which reflect a frustration with social, economic and political issues. Having initially trained as a technician in thermodynamics before attending the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana from 1989 to 1994, Garaicoa came into the art world and art education with a markedly different point of view to that of many other artists. Raised in a Communist regime and culture, infused with the ideas and ideologies of the role of artist in the society, Garaicoa’s first reaction was to use a camera to capture, re-imagine and symbolically rebuild these crumbling modernist utopias.

Displayed in the ground-floor gallery, Fin de silencio (End of Silence), 2010, is a provocative series of works that combine tapestry with video installation. Here, Garaicoa appropriates the old pavement signs from outside former department stores in Havana, transforms them into digital photographic images and weaves them into carpets on which viewers are invited to walk.* This work provokes a critical response to the reality of present-day Cuba by revealing the dichotomy between these once magnificent terrazzo floors and their fall into neglect as relics of consumerism.


In the small side-room off the ground-floor gallery, an installation of several black-and-white photographic diptychs present some of the dilapidated and demolished buildings of Havana. Each of them relates to an architectural model made in crystal by the artist and displayed on a custom-made pedestal. Significant reminders of the past, these crystal models reveal a ghostly presence of the missing buildings.


Set into the ground of the gallery’s outdoor terrace is Sin título (Alcantarillas) [Untitled (Manhole Covers)], 2014–2018, a series of bronze manhole covers, each one reflecting the kind of critical discourse displayed on placards during various political protests in Cuba.


On the first floor, eight large diptychs of Cerámicas Porno-indignadas (Porn-Outraged Ceramics), 2012–2014, are mounted on the gallery walls. In each diptych, one part is a photograph of one of the original early 20th century advertisements that are painted on tiles on the exterior of the Farmacia Juanse, a pharmacy in central Madrid. The other is a re-creation of the ceramic-tile piece with the artist’s own commentary and interpretation of the images. Playing with the inversion of the original and the copy, Garaicoa fabricates the copy as a physical object with references to specific moments and incidents in recent Spanish political history. By manipulating the context of each image, Garaicoa presents a new understanding of the city, provoking and challenging the potential for social change.


Curated by Dr Ziba Ardalan, Founder/Director of Parasol unit, the exhibition is accompanied by a tailored programme of educational events aimed at engaging the public.


*Before walking across the carpet, visitors are kindly requested to remove your shoes and put on the plastic foot covers provided.



Carlos Garaicoa, Cerámicas Porno-Indignadas (Provocación) / Porn-Outraged Ceramics (Provocation) [detail], 2012. Diptych. Cold digital printing on ceramic (pictured). Print Ilfordjet mounted and laminated on aluminium. 117 x 168 x 3 / 279 x 224. Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua (San Gimignano | Beijing | Les Moulins | Habana). Photograph by Oak Taylor-Smith.


Exhibition 13 April - 3 June 2018. Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, 14 Wharf Road - London N1 7RW (RU). T. + 44 (0)20 7490 7373. Free entry.







 







 











 





 



























 





 











Carlos Garaicoa, Cerámicas Porno-Indignadas (Provocación) / Porn-Outraged Ceramics (Provocation) [detail], 2012. Diptych. Cold digital printing on ceramic (pictured). Print Ilfordjet mounted and laminated on aluminium. 117 x 168 x 3 / 279 x 224. Courtesy of the artist and Galleria Continua (San Gimignano | Beijing | Les Moulins | Habana). Photograph by Oak Taylor-Smith.