Carlos Garaicoa

Cuba 1967

Installation, Sculpture

Carlos Garaicoa
Carlos Garaicoa
January 15, 2015

Carlos Garaicoa is one of the internationally best known and most influential Cuban artists, whose work has achieved canonical status in his homeland. Born in 1967, Garaicoa first studied thermodynamics, but eventually turned to art when he enrolled, and later graduated at the renowned Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana.

Curator, with Esterio Segura, of the important 1993 exhibition Las Metáforas Del Templo (Metaphors of the Temple), Carlos Garaicoa has created an exceptional body of work on the themes of architecture, ruins and utopia. From his initial subject, the city of Havana, he has moved on to New York, Cuito Cuanavale, Valencia, Minneapolis and Venice. Rívoli o El Lugar Donde Mana La Sangre (Rivoli, or The Place Where Blood Flows) was named after a piece of the same title, transformed into a light-box photograph in 2002. The earlier work included a photograph of the location and an architectural rendering. In complementary visions, the photo offered a dispassionate close-up of the building, reduced to its façade and knee-deep in detritus, while the drawing depicted a pyramid built on the roof, and a rivulet of blood trailing down the building’s surface. A handwritten text announced the drawing’s title, Proyecto Cruel (Cruel Project). This was an idea for a future performance, in which buckets of blood were to be thrown over the ruins. Throughout the Rivoli project, Garaicoa assumed the fictitious identity of an architect whose mission was to renovate and restore buildings on the point of collapse. The use of an imaginary creator and the photograph-drawing structure of the original piece also appear in his other projects of the time, such as Acerca De La Construcción De La Verdadera Torre De Babel (On the Construction of the Real Tower of Babel, 1994-95)Primer Sembrado De Hongos Alucinógenos En La Habana (First Cultivated Field of Psychedelic Mushrooms in Havana, 1997) and Proyecto Acerca Del Triunfo (Project on Victory, 1994-99). The grandiloquent solutions laid out in those drawings were demonstrably ineffective, absurd, and incoherent in practical terms. Their laudable purpose could not be transmuted into concrete action, instead, it was reduced to good intentions. The ruins became a record of utopian impotence.

Rivoli is perhaps one of the works in which Garaicoa takes his farcical projects of urban sanitation to extremes. Conveyed by a fictitious creator, the artist’s message reveals several meanings simultaneously. Buildings such as the old Rivoli jeweler’s shop, protagonists of Garaicoa’s “impossible” projects, had been built, for the most part, during the early 20th century, the first decades of the Cuban republic. By the 1990s, they were crumbling, inexorably, under the weight of time and social indifference. As Piranesi had once done with Rome, Garaicoa congealed the mutilated buildings in their tragic grandeur, turning them into symbols of social anomie and the loss of faith in the overarching narrative of social emancipation. His appropriation of design language was harshly critical of the modern architect as a cultural figure, infused by utopian ideologies since the Bauhaus era, but incapable of protecting the historical “skin” of the city. The ironic tension between the two elements, project drawing and photographic representation, prevented any lapse into nostalgia, as it does in the 2002 light-box work, a temptation that Wim Wenders was unable to avoid as he portrayed a Havana “pierced by shadows” in his 1998 film, Buena Vista Social Club.

Carlos Garaicoa currently lives and works between Havana and Madrid.

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumGroup/Solo
2013Fellbach TriennalFellbach, GermanyGroup
2012En Construccion - Under ConstructionGaleria Habana, La Habana, CubaSolo
2012La fotografía como intervenciónMuseo Colecciones ICO (MUICO), Madrid, SpainSolo
2012La ciudad vista desde la mesa de casa - A city view from the table of my houseKunst Haus Baseland, Basel, SwitzerlandSolo
2012Sin soluciónGalleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy Solo
2012Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012Kochi, IndiaGroup
201211th Havana BiennaleCentro De Arte Contemporaneo Wifredo Lam, La Habana, CubaGroup
2012Who more sci-fi than usKunsthal Kade Amersfoort, Zonnehof, NetherlandGroup
201218th Biennale of SydneySydney, AustraliaGroup
2012La ciudad vista desde la mesa de casaKunstverein, Braunschweig, GermanyGroup
2011Carlos Garaicoa: Photo-topographyThe National Museum of Contemporary Art, AthensSolo
2011Fin de SilencioCentre d´Art La Panera, LeridaSolo
2011Noticias RecientesCAB de Burgos, Burgos, SpainSolo
2011Penelope´s Labour: Weaving words and ImagesFondazione Giorgio Cini, Venecia, ItalyGroup
2011Beijing Online Inlive - 10 Hands 100 FingersGalleria Continua, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2010Fin de SilencioMatadero de Madrid, Madrid, SpainSolo
2010Lo viejo y lo nuevo - Das Alte und das NeueGalería Barbara Gross, Munich, GermanySolo
2010Proyecto FragilMARZ GALERIA, Lisbona, PortugalSolo
2010OverlappingIrish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), DublinoSolo
2010Bienes Mostrencos - Land in AbeyanceMuseo Arte Moderno de Modellin, (M.A.M.M), Modellin, ColombiaSolo
2010La enmienda que hay en miCaixa Girona Foundation, Girona, SpainSolo
2010Carlos GaraicoaIMMA, Dublin, IrlandSolo
2010Carlos GaraicoaBurgos Museum, SpainSolo
2010Carlos GaraicoaMatadero de Madrid, Madrid, SpainSolo
2010Iles jamais trouvéesMusée d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole, La Terrasse, FranceGroup
2010SEE REASONStedelijk Museum Bureau Ámsterdam, NL Group
2010TERRE VULNERABILI a growing exhibitionHangarBicocca, Milano, ItalyGroup
2010La enmienda que hay en míUSF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, FloridaGroup
2010De Frente al SolGalerie Martin Janda, Vienna, AustriaGroup
201029th Bienal de São Paulo. Há sempre um copo de mar para o homem navegarSao Paulo, BrasilGroup
2010Islands Never FoundState Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, GreeceGroup
2010Trasparenze. L’arte per le energie rinnovabiliMacro, Roma, ItalyGroup
2010Ruptures and Cotinuities: Photography Made alter 1960 from the MFAH CollectionMuseum of fine Arts, Houston, USAGroup
2010Without Mask. Contemporary Afrocuban ArtJohannesburg art Gallery, South AfricaGroup
2010Sinergias. Arte latinoamericano actual en EspanaMuseo Extremeno e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporaneo, MEJAC, Badajoz, SpainGroup
2010ERÖFFNUNG IN NEUEN RÄUMENBarbara Gross Galerie, Munchen, GermanyGroup
2010Linguaggi e sperimentazioniMART Rovereto, Rovereto, ItalyGroup
2010Isole mai trovate - Islands never foundPalazzo Ducale Appartamento del Doge, Genova, ItalyGroup
2009How to become a millionaire trough the Junk MailLuisa Strina Gallery, San Paulo, BrazilSolo
2009La Mala SemillaChateau de Blandy-les-Tours, FranceSolo
2009The point, the line and the planEast Central Gallery, London, UKSolo
2009La Mala SemillaChâteau de Blandy-Les-Tours - Blandy Art Tour(s), FranceSolo
2009Triunfo, Duda y CelebraciónGalleria Continua, San Gimignano, ItalySolo
2009The Observatory - A project for CastlefordBridge arts, Castleford, UKSolo
2009La enmienda que hay en mìMuseo Nacional de Belles Artes de Cuba, X Bienal de la Habana, CubaSolo
2009PanoramaModern Art Museum (MAM), San Paulo, BrazilGroup
2009El Patio de mi CasaArte Contemporaneo en 16 Patios de Còrdoba, Cordoba, SpainGroup
2009Making Worlds, 53 Biennal of VeniceVenice, ItalyGroup
2009Desenhos: A-ZMuseu de Cidade, Lisbona, PortugalGroup
2009Fragile. Terres d’emphatieMusee d’art moderne, saint Ethienne Metropole, FranceGroup
2009Spheres 2009Le Moulin, Paris, FranceGroup
2009The Sky withinmy house, Contemporary art in 16 years of CòedobaUniversity of Philosophy and Literature in Cordoba, SpainGroup
2009Confluencias InsideNHCC Art Museum (National Hispanic Cultural Center), Alburquerque, USAGroup
2009Mundus Novus-Arte Contemporaneo Latinoamericano, 53 Venice BiennalILLA Pavillion, Artiglierie dell’Arsenale, ItalyGroup
2009Video in the street ProjectMurcia, SpainGroup
2008Revolución o RizomaGalleria Continua, Beijing, ChinaSolo
2008Mental DrawingsGalleria Alexandra Bonomo, Roma, ItalyGroup
2008¡Cuba! Art and History from 1868 to TodayMontreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2008Surrounded by Water: Expressions of Freedom and Isolation in Contemporary Cuban ArtBoston University Art Gallery, Boston, USAGroup
2008The Sneeze 80 artists x 80 seconds 106 minutesDurban Art Gallery, South AfricaGroup
2008Fate PrestoChiesa dell'Addolorata, Napoli, ItalyGroup
2008The Prisoner’s Dilemma: selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros CollectionFundaciòn de Arte Cisneros Fontanal, Art Basel Miami Beach, USAGroup
2008Farewell to Post-Colonialis, Third Guangzhou TriennalGuangdong Museum of Art, ChinaGroup
2008ArticulacoesFaro, Algarva, PortugalGroup
2008Costruir, habitar, pensa. Perspectivas de La arquitectura contemporaneaIVAM, Valencia, SpainGroup
2008Blow Away ExhibitionFact SheetKrannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaing, Illinois, USAGroup
2008Unbriken Ties: dialogues in Cuban ArtThe Museumof Art, Fort Lauderdale, USAGroup
2007Capablanca’s Real PassionInstitute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, USASolo
2007Latin Kings Music Vol. I-VElba Benítez Gallery, Madrid, SpainSolo
2007L’emprise du LieuDomaine Pommery, Reims, FranceGroup
2007The Shapes of SpaceGuggenheim Museum, New York, USAGroup
2007Le moulinGallery Continua, Paris, FranceGroup
2007Cuestion XeracionalGalego de Arte Contemporâneo Centre, Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, SpainGroup
2007Not afraid of the darkEmergenze hangar Bicocca, Milan, ItalyGroup
2007IKF. Latin American Art AuctionCisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami, Florida, USAGroup
2007The SneezeDurban Art gallery, Durban, South AfricaGroup
2007A Number of Worlds Resembling Our OwnSMART Project Space, Amsterdam, NetherlandsGroup
2007Art UnlimitedArt Basel 38, GermanyGroup
2007TurbulenceAuckland Triennial, New ZelandGroup
2007Luz ao Sul, Encuentro entre dos MaresIV Valencia Biennial, Valencia, SpainGroup
2007Killing TimeExit Art, New Cork, USAGroup
2007Expérience PommeryDomaine Pommery, Reims, FranceGroup
2007Common HouseLaboratorio per l’Arte Contemporanea, Stabilimento Group
2006The drawing, the writing, the abstractionLombard-Freid Projects, New York, USASolo
2006Yo no quiero ver más a mis vecinosCastello di Ama, Gaiole in Chianti, ItalySolo
2006Capablanca’s real passionRoyal Ontario Museum, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2006Das Gast (retrospectiva de videos 1996-2006)Kuntshalle de Fribourg, GermanySolo
2006PostcapitalPalau de la Virreina, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2006Capablanca’s real passionICA, Philadelphia, USASolo
2006Off the Shelf: new from in contemporay artist’s booksThe France Lehman Loeb Art Centre, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, USAGroup
2006Waiting ListMestna Galerija, Ljublijana, SloveniaGroup
2006Museo TomadoMuseoNacional de Bellas Artes, Havan, CubaGroup
2006Overlapping, 4th Liverpool BiennialOpen Eye Gallery, UK Group
2006C4Centro Cultura Contemporaneo Caldogno, Vicenza, ItalyGroup
2006MetropolitanscapesPalazzo Cavour, Turin, ItalyGroup
2006Less. Strategie alternative dell’abitarePAC, Milan, ItalyGroup
2006Other than ArtG Fine Art, Washington D.C, USAGroup
2006Ideal City-Invisible CitiesZamosc, Postdam, GermanyGroup
2005Things that happen when life goes very wrongGalleria Continua, San Gimignano, ItalySolo
2005Because every city has the right to be called UtopiaOriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, WallesSolo
2005Carlos GaraicoaYorkshire Sculpture Park, West Yorkshire, UKSolo
2005Vamos fazer barullo agora, porra!Galería Habana, La Habana, CubaSolo
2005El mapa del viajeroLuisa Strina Gallery, Sao Paulo, BrazilSolo
2005Capablanca’s real passionM.O.C.A Los Angeles, USASolo
2005Self-flagellation, survival, insubordinationAspen Art Museum, Colorado, USASolo
2005New PhotographyM.O.M.A, NewYork, USAGroup
2005Inverting the Map: Latin American Art from the Tate CollectionTATE, Liverpool, UKGroup
2005M CityKunsthaus Graz, Viena, AustriaGroup
200551st Venice BiennalArsenale, Venice, ItalyGroup
2005Art UnlimitedArt Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2005Dialectics of HopeI Moscow Biennial, RussiaGroup
2004La misura di quasi tutte le cosePalazzo delle Papesse, Siena, ItalySolo
2004Future CitiesArt Gallery of Hamilton, CanadaGroup
2004We come in peace… Histories of the AmericasMusée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, CanadaGroup
2004ArchitectureRena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CaliforniaGroup
2004SculptureGallery Anne de Villepoix, Paris, FranceGroup
2003El asesino de la barajaEspacio C, Camargo, SpainSolo
2003Carlos GaraicoaGalería Elba Benítez, Madrid, SpainSolo
2003Lecciones de HistoriaCasa de América, Madrid, SpainSolo
2003De la serie Nuevas ArquitecturasCentro Wifredo Lam, La Habana, CubaSolo
2003Autoflagelación, Supervivencia, InsubordinaciónSala Montcada, Fundació “La Caixa”, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2003La habitación de mi negatividadGalería La Casona, VII Bienal de la Habana, CubaSolo
2003Dentro-Fuera: arte Cubano contemporaneoCharlotte and Philip Hames Art Gallery, Wake Forest University, USAGroup
2003Cuba on the Verge. An island in transitionInternational Centre of Photografy, New York, UsaGroup
2003Time capsuleArt in General, New York, USAGroup
2003Dream Space - Entre sueñosDeutsche Bank Lobby Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2003Salon des RefusesFondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, ItalyGroup
2003Modern IslandsPublic Project, Dresden, GermanyGroup
2002Now let’s play to disappearGalleria Continua, San Gimignano, ItalySolo
2002Ni Christ, ni Marx, ni BakounineMaison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, FranceSolo
2002Somebody’s architecture, Documenta 11Platform 5, Kassel, GermanyGroup
2002CopyrightCentro Cultural de España, La Habana, CubaGroup
2002Artists Imagine ArchitectureI.C.A., Boston, UKGroup
2002De ponta cabecaI Bienal Fortaleza, BrazilGroup
2002SincretismiFondazione Adriano Olivetti, Roma, Italy Group
2001Art & PublicGineve, SwitzerlandSolo
2001The last 10 days of the marketAarhus Festival. Galeri Image, DenmarkSolo
2001Because every city has the right to be called UtopiaLombard-Freid Gallery, New York, USASolo
2001Demonstration RoomMuseo Alejandro Otero, CaracasGroup
2001Shifting TidesL.A County Museum, CaliforniaGroup
2001VI Bienal de La HabanaCentro Wilfredo Lam, La Habana, CubaGroup
2001Mega WaveI Yokohama Triennial, JapanGroup
2000Carlos GaraicoaMuseum of the Arts, New York, USASolo
2000Carlos GaraicoaMuseo Alejandro Otero, Caracas, VenezuelaSolo
2000RecuadrosJacobo Karpio Gallery, San Jose, Costa RicaSolo
2000Nouvelles ArchitecturesFarideh Cadot Gallery, Paris, FranceSolo
2000Mirror's EdgeVancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, CanadaGroup
2000From the negative: conceptual photography from CubaParts Gallery, Minneapolis, USAGroup
2000Más allá del DocumentoMuseo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain Group
2000FotolatinaContemporary Art Museum, Guadalajara, MexicoGroup
2000Window onto VenusVII Biennale of Havana, Havana, CubaGroup
2000Espacios híbridosGalería La Casona, Feria ARCO ’00, Madrid, SpainGroup
1999Survia, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes VisualesPrimer Salon de Fotografia, Havana, CubaSolo
1999PaisajeArsTeorETICA, San Josè, Costa RicaSolo
1999Mi primier y ultimo homenaje a la arquitecturaGalerìa Habana, Havana, CubaSolo
1999Mirror EdgeBiltdmusee, Umea, SwedenGroup
1999I Bienal Internacional de MéxicoCentro de la Imagen, Distrito Federal, MexicoGroup
1999Cuatro artistas cubanosGeunkens en De Vill Gallery, Knokke, BelgiumGroup
1998Principio y fin de la fascinaciónCentro Wifredo Lam, Habana, CubaSolo
1998La ciudad vista desde la mesa de casaCentro Wifredo Lam, Havana, CubaGroup
1998Fragmentos a su imánCasa de las Américas, Havana, CubaGroup
1998Isla Oscura: New Photography from CubaSoutheast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, Florida, USAGroup
1998Comme peut on être cubain?Maison de L’Amerique, Paris, FranceGroup
1998De discretas autoríasMuseo de Arte Contemporáneo de Maracay Mario Abreu, Maracay, VenezuelaGroup
1998Cuba-ONGenerous Miracles Gallery, New York, USAGroup
1998La mirada y el laberintoCosello da Cultura Galega, Galicia, SpainGroup
1998Memoria íntimas, marcasElectricworkshop, Johannesbourg, South AfricaGroup
1998Pretoria, Sudáfrica, Pabellón blancoInstituto parar el Arte Contemporáneo, Lisboa, PortugalGroup
1998Caribe InsularMuseo Extremeño e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporáneo, Badajoz, SpainGroup
1998XXIV Bienal de Sao PauloParque Ibirapuera, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
1998Art and Survival in the Utopian IslandAzu Museum, Tempe, Arizona, USAGroup
1998La isla del futuroPalacio de Jovellanos, Gijón, SpainGroup
1998Segundo Salón de Arte ContemporáneoCentro de Desarrollo de Artes Visuales, Havana, CubaGroup
1997Utopian territories: New Cuban ArtMorris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, CanadaGroup
1997El individuo y su memoria, VI Bienal de La HabanaCentro Wifredo Lam, Havana, CubaGroup
1997Space-Fire, 97 Kwangjú BiennaleKwangjú, South KoreaGroup
1997Memorias íntimas, marcas, Cuito CuanavaleCentro Cultural Portugués, Luanda, AngolaGroup
1997Trienal Internacional del Arte FotográficoRomaniemi Art Museum, Helsinki, FinlandiaGroup
1996El voluble rostro de la realidadFundacìon Ludwid de Cuba, Centro de Desarrollo de las Artes Visuales, Habana, CubaSolo
1996Cuando el deseo se parece a nadaArt in general, New York, USASolo
1996Habana: a surveyCarla Stellweg, New York, USASolo
1996El paisaje, los limitèsFototeca de Cuba, Havana, CubaSolo
1996Las otras escri(p)turasCentro de Artes Plásticas y Diseño, Havana, CubaGroup
1996Río Almendares, ni fresa ni chocolateCENCREM, Havana, CubaGroup
1996CarneEspacio Aglutinador de Arte, Havana, CubaGroup
1995El espacio decapitadoCentre PasquArt, Biel-Bienne, SwitzerlandSolo
1995Africus’951st Johannesburg Biennale, South AfricaGroup
1995Una de cada claseCentro Nacional de Conservación, Restauración y Museología (CENCREM), Fundación Ludwig de Cuba, Havana, CubaGroup
1995Cuba: la isla posibleCentro de Cultura Contemporánea, Barcelona, SpainGroup
1995Trans (intro) post-diarioGalería La Fundición, Bilbao, SpainGroup
1994El sueno de la razòn, Fotografìas y ObjectosCentroWifredo Lam, Havana, CubaSolo
1994The new generation, FotoFestThe Menill Colection, Houston, Texas, USAGroup
1994UtopíaGalería Casa del Joven Creador, Sede de la Asociación Hermanos Saíz, Havana, CubaGroup
1994Entornos y circunstancias, V Bienal de la HabanaMuseo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Cuba Havana, CubaGroup
1994La nueva generación: fotografía contemporánea de CubaFototeca de Cuba, V Bienal de La Habana, Havana, CubaGroup
1994V Bienal de la HabanaKunst Forum Ludwig, GermanyGroup
1993Las metàforas del templo, Curator and artistCentro de Desarrollo de Artes Visuales, Havana, CubaSolo
1993Las metáforas del temploCentro de Desarrollo de Artes Visuales, Havana, CubaGroup
1992Tu nùmero de suerteJuan Francisco Elso Gallery, Asociaciòn Hermanos Saìz, Havana, CubaSolo
1991Si Tim tiene, Tim vale, IV Bienal de La HabanaGalería del ISA, Havana, CubaGroup
1989Dias de infanciaGaleria del Centro de Investigaciones del Ministero de Educacion, Havana, CubaSolo