Carlos Garaicoa | Weston Family Wing

Carlos Garaicoa is one of Cuba’s leading contemporary artists. Using multi-media to convey themes of architecture, urbanism, politics, history and human culture, his works examine the gap between the hope and promises generated by the revolution and the actual conditions of Cuban life today. They are poignant explorations of a culture where political idealism is disconnected from the reality of day-to-day living. His work illustrates the contrast between Havana’s desire to represent its affluent past with the faded glory and decaying architecture that typifies its current landscape. The question posed is: Is a culture defined by what it aspires to be, or what it appears to have become? As the architecture of Cuban cities decay, so too does the idea of utopia that had permeated Cuban culture since the revolution. However, a memory of once-great cities remains, and with it, hope for reform.

Carlos Garaicoa is an Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) exhibition. The ICC at the ROM is the only Canadian stop on the exhibition’s tour.

Carlos Garaicoa is organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Jumex Fund for Contemporary Latin American Art; the Katherine S. Marmor Award; Mary and Robert Looker; Mandy and Clifford J. Einstein; David Hockney; Jennifer McSweeney and Peter Reuss; Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy; and the City of West Hollywood Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission.

ROM Fall 2006 Sponsor: Sentry Select Capital Corp.

About His Work

A stunning opening to the exhibition, From the Series New Architectures is an installation of 76 rice-paper lanterns representing buildings in a fictional utopian city. Here, Garaicoa demonstrates his interests in both urban planning and concepts of the ideal city. Sin Título 10 de Octubre, a sample from Garaicoa’s Sin Titulo photography series, illustrates a collapsed building in Havana. In this series, photos of original buildings in Havana are shown alongside drawings made of thread, suggesting the absence of these once-great structures in a way that is both haunting and beautiful. Capablanca's Real Passion is a mixed-media piece which comments on the urban composition of cities today.

About the Artist

Carlos Garaicoa was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1967. His work is representative of a generation that grew up under Castro’s regime and witnessed the fall of Soviet communism, along with dwindling support from non-communist USSR. Garaicoa studied visual arts at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Cuba from 1989 to 1994. He currently resides and works in Havana. Garaicoa is represented by Lombard-Freid Fine Arts in New York and Galleria Continua in Italy.

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