Collapsing New Buildings
Carlos Garaicoa at the Kunstverein Braunschweig
||He’s taken part in many major shows, such as the documenta XI (2002) and the Venice Biennale (2005/2009). An entire floor is dedicated to his work in the Deutsche Bank Towers in Frankfurt. Now, the Kunstverein Braunschweig presents Carlos Garaicoa’s first exhibition in a German institution. Spread over two floors, it offers a comprehensive view of the complex works of the artist, who was born in 1967 in Cuba. The focus of Garaicoa’s photographs, installations, and films is architecture and urban planning as a reflection of political realities and social developments. Garaicoa regards architecture as a "discipline that has played one of the most important roles in society and that has reflected politically, ideologically, and socially all the changes and events that have marked the course of our lifetimes."
Since the 1990s, Havana has repeatedly served as the point of departure for Garaicoa’s work. Along with the "picturesque" ruins of colonial times, his native city is also home to the dilapidated, unfinished structures of the post-revolutionary era. "The encounter with these buildings produces a strange sensation; the issue is not the ruin of a luminous past but a present of incapacity," explains Garaicoa. "I call these the Ruins of the Future." In his pop-up books titled Towers (2005), the artist juxtaposes the dreariness of existing architecture with colorful fantasies. To Transform the Political Speech in Facts, Finally II (I -V) (2009) portrays billboard scaffolding the artist has filled with Constructivist drawings that turn the government’s unkept promises into reality. On the other hand, his installation My Personal Library Grows up Together (2008) addresses the rapidly growing Chinese megacities: small screens show videos of these buildings with Chinese flags waving from the roofs. The modern conceptual projects, for the most part designed by Western architects, are effortlessly appropriated by the ruling system. Thus, the contradiction prevailing between" super-capitalism" and communism can be read from a city’s urban construction.
Carlos Garaicoa: A City View from the Table of my House
3/10 – 5/20/2012