The Havana-based collective Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters) have created some of the most important work to emerge from Latin America in the past decade. Formed in 1992 (Marco Castillo, Dagoberto Rodríguez, and, until his departure in June 2003, Alexandre Arrechea), Los Carpinteros adopted their name in 1994, deciding to renounce the notion of individual authorship and refer back to an older guild tradition of artisans and skilled laborers. Interested in the intersection between art and society, their oeuvre occupies an intriguing and ambiguous space between conceptualism, activism and formalism. Merging architecture, design, and sculpture in unexpected and often playful ways, their elegant and mordantly humorous work negotiates between the functional and the nonfunctional, drawing inspiration from the physical world—particularly that of architectural constructions. Their carefully crafted drawings and installations use wit to exploit a visual syntax that sets up contradictions between object and function as well as practicality and uselessness.
For Los Carpinteros, drawing has played an integral role as a mock technical draft or blueprint, suggesting not only a process of artistic elaboration but also as architectural or carpentry plans.
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