SoShiro Gallery in Marylebone, London, is delighted to present “Layers” an exciting new exhibition and collaboration with award-winning Cuban multimedia artist Alexandre Arrechea, celebrating the style and spirit of Havana through art, design, and furniture. This will be Arrechea’s first solo show in the UK.
A sculptor, painter, and video artist, Arrechea is currently based in Madrid, after living and working for many years in his native Havana and then in Miami and New York. A formidable talent, Arrechea was a founding member of the famed art collective Los Carpinteros, responsible for some of the most important drawings and installations to emerge from Latin America in the last twenty years.
As a solo artist, Arrechea gained international visibility in 2013 for a series of large scale, bending and flexing public sculptures in New York’s Park Avenue, playfully reinterpreting iconic buildings like the Empire State and Chrysler Building. At the Coachella festival in 2016, he presented four supersized canary-yellow chair-like structures, bringing attention to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Taking inspiration from his native Havana, Arrechea’s work reflects on the political and social meanings of architecture. He layers vibrant tones with echoes of the city’s buildings to inform his distinctive approach.
For “Layers” Arrechea and gallery founder Shiro Muchiri have curated an engaging and inspiring collection of Arrechea’s body of work which explores the relationship between the human body, architecture, and colour.
“Working in collaboration with SoShiro is a blessing. We both not only recognize the cultural value implicit in craft but also the transformative aspect it plays in our lives. The resulted creations of this collaboration belong to an ongoing investigation. Where our views on the social, political, and cultural aspects that define part of our contemporary life merge organically as daily life objects,” said Arrechea.
LAYERS PART ONE – 4 TO 10 OCTOBER 2021
The Corner Series consists of carefully constructed photo-collages on paper, board and tapestry, whose elements are drawn from photographs of the corners of buildings in Havana. The resulting imagery possesses a curious and provocative mixture of flatness and depth, familiarity and exoticism, abstraction, and mimesis
8 Different Problems
SoShiro Collection is a unique collaboration between Arrechea and Shiro Muchiri. Together they have designed and produced a collection of handmade furniture and accessories which will be shown for the first time.
“Collector” is a large modular shelf unit in pear wood with a drop-down shelf finished in decorative mosaic work designed by third year students from the Mosaic School of Friuli, Italy. The mosaic recreates Arrechea’s “Blue Eye” from the Corner Series which is also on show.
“I Do” is a pear wood desk made with an aluminium base with some parts painted red. Inspired by the site installation CHAOS, also made of aluminium.
The accessories were inspired by the playful theme of Layers and include elements such as a snooker ball and dice, supporting the notion of games, time out and life.
LAYERS PART TWO – 13 OCTOBER TO 13 NOVEMBER 2021
With the Estadios series of 21 watercolours, Arrechea intends to overturn the structure of a building— in this case an amphitheatre—to create a modern form that grows from within, with an unstable pattern for seating in all possible directions, such as in a maze.
“Here you will not find a centre stage or point of focus. All points are equally favoured; their relative importance depends on your position and your vision. Every model presents a situation that embraces new possibilities or ways to be explored. These sculptures to me are models of a reality that challenge the traditional dialog,” said Arrechea.
Five of the watercolours have been chosen by Muchiri to be reinterpreted as 3D printed sculptures titled Solid Stadium and these will sit alongside the paintings.
“Collectively the watercolours and sculptures express the breadth and depth of the entire composition of the Estadios series. They show the expanse to which this series can grow and continue to express the infinite possibilities which is a characteristic of Arrechea’s work – everything continues,” said Muchiri.
A highlight of the exhibition will be a new site-specific art installation with the word “CHAOS” installed on the wall on the first floor of the gallery. Composed of brightly coloured large-scale enamelled aluminium letters, the statement reflects Arrechea’s interest in creating possibilities and spaces that increase in size both physically and metaphorically.
“The word CHAOS as the context of the library helps to define or question everything that is placed in it,” said Arrechea.
Artist Alexandre Arrechea (b. 1970, Trinidad, Cuba) is a sculptor, painter, and video artist who divides his time between New York, Madrid, Havana, and Miami. He is best known for his 2013 NOLIMITS project, which consisted of ten large-scale sculptures of bent and twisted iconic New York buildings installed along Park Avenue, Arrechea won the Howard and Patricia Farber Foundation’s Artist of the Year Award at the 2015 Havana Biennial and was featured at the 2016 Coachella Music Festival in Palm Springs, CA with the monumental sculpture Katrina Chair. He has had exhibitions at dozens of international venues, including the Venice, Sao Paolo, Havana, Shanghai, Taipei, and the Kansas City biennial 2018 and Gwangju Biennial 2018, Prospect 1 in New Orleans, and his work is in the collections of MoMA, Museo Reina Sofia, Brooklyn Museum, LACMA, CIFO, Pizzuti, and Museo del Barrio, among others. He is represented by Casado Santapau gallery, Spain, Nara Roesler Gallery, Sao Paolo, NYC, Frederic Snitzer Gallery, Miami.