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.
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 SoShiro 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.”
– Alexandre Arrechea
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.
LAYERS – SOSHIRO COLLECTION
Alexandre Arrechea and SoShiro’s Collection “Layers” is a unique collaboration. 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 Corners Series which is also on show. The eye explores Arrechea’s themes of surveillance in his artworks, particulalry with the idea that the corners of buildings in Havana are considered witnesses to Cuba’s history and changes.
“I do” is a pear wood desk made with an aluminium base with some parts painted red. The words “I do”, and (as seen in reverse) “do I” contextualise the desk as a point of both respite and productivity. The writing is 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. Intended for the solitary drinker, Solitario implements fun and practicalities. It presents a challenging design, with the playful element of the rolling snooker ball along the basin surface – a design inspired by the image of a ball dropping into liquid to create a rippling surface. The snooker ball in planetary orbit around the bottle reminisces the urban, sultry evenings of parlour nooks.
The Layers exhibition features a wide range of Arrechea’s photomontages, watercolour paintings, and sculptures.
“Layers” particularly highlights the Estadios series of 21 watercolours – various modern amphitheatre forms that grow from within, with an unstable pattern for seating in all possible directions. Five of these watercolours have been chosen by Muchiri to be reinterpreted as 3D printed sculptures titled Solid Stadium and these sit alongside the paintings.
“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.”
– Alexandre Arrechea
“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.”
– Shiro Muchiri
Installation of Monumental Series Watercolours
Red Nose from Corner Series