To see this site properly, please update your browser. Thank you for your understanding.

facebook twitter

Carlos Garaicoa – The Politics and Poetics of Space

17.04 – 23.08/2015
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo

Carlos Garaicoa The Politics and Poetics of Space will be Carlos Garaicoa’s first comprehensive solo exhibition in the Nordic countries and combines new works especially produced for the exhibition in the context of works dating back to the early 2000s.

Already early on in his career, Garaicoa explored the city and architecture as metaphors and indicators for the inner mechanisms of society. “Every day I walk through the city and feel its intensity,” he has said. “For my work to progress, I need to experience that contradiction between the city’s beauty and its terrible realities.” There is a reverence for the urban fabric but at the same time a hesitation about the effect it may have on its inhabitants.Havana is a point of departure for much of his work and elucidates the artist’s critical stance towards modernist architecture as a metaphor for the failure of the idea of modernism as a catalyst for social change and the subsequent disappointment in hopes and dreams of 20th-century utopias. The artist has also acknowledged a significant relationship between his work and literary models of the city, particularly the concept of city as a symbolic space to be found with authors like Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino. It is precisely the combination of the poetical, analytical dimension of Garaicoa’s work in dialogue with crucial political aspects he more frequently has been addressing in recent years which makes his oeuvre relevant and powerful, not least against the backdrop of the effects of the global financial crisis of recent years.

Most of the works in the current exhibition relate to either the politics or the poetics of space, the inescapable dialectics and dichotomies of utopia and dystopia, the beauty of ruins and the disillusion of shattered ideals, the empowerment of the social body versus power structures manifested in sumptuous architecture and regulated public space, the fragile and transparent next to the hard and heavy, the poetry of the street versus the slogans of the palaces. In short; the abyss that may lurk behind the apparent order or the big ideals of a society.

Carlos Garaicoa is one of the most prominent Cuban artists in the international art scene. His work, which comprises of installation, drawing, video, photography and sculpture, has been shown at the Biennials of Venice, Sao Paulo and Havana as well as at documenta. Amongst others, he has had solo exhibitions at MoCA, Los Angeles; the ICA in Philadelphia; the Royal Ontario Museum and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and his work can be found in private collections and museums throughout the world.The exhibition of Carlos Garaicoa at the National Museum’s Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo is part of a series of exhibitions with international artists such as Tacita Dean, Runa Islam, Allora and Calzadilla, Nicolas Hlobo and Fiona Tan and comes at a time when the urban fabric of Norway’s capital and other cities in the country are undergoing rapid change, with massive remodelling, restructuring and expansion. The exhibition is a collaboration of the National Museum, Oslo; Centro de Arte 2 Mayo, Madrid and Villa Stuck in Munich, supported by AC/E.

Exhibition curators: Sabrina van der Ley and Agustín Pérez Rubio
Educational curators: Line Engen and Liva Mork
Events: Carlos Garaicoa in conversation with Sabrina van der Ley and Agustín Pérez Rubio
Saturday, 18 April, 15h What happens to my city? A panel discussion on the current development of the Norwegian capital Thursday, 8 May, 17h Lecture by Eugenio Valdés Figueroa on Carlos Garaicoa in the context of the contemporary Cuban art scene
Thursday 18 June, 17h


This post is also available in: Spanish