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Carlos Garaicoa – Anatomías y Anatemas / Anatomy and Anathemas

For this, his first solo show at Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea and in Sicily, the artist gathers very recent works and ongoing projects as well as an early installation entitled Garden (1998), who welcomes the public in the exhibition room. Garden (From the Series A city view from the table of my house) depicts a domestic scale for a landscape, a beautiful garden you could seize in your hands, with a lovely –and lonely- bonsai tree. On the opposite corner of the table, a video showing a dead tree inside a building in ruins. Curator Helen Pheby once wrote about this work: “The deliberately confusing use of scale in this work makes us at once a god, omnipotent over the miniature world within the gallery, yet against the context of the landscape beyond, small and irrelevant. The outdoors is indoors and reality becomes subverted. It is simultaneously a toy, a childlike model of a world but with profound questions about free-will, control, destiny and responsibility. Symbolically, the perception of reality depends on where you are standing.” (Garaicoa, Carlos (catalogue), Cities/Gardens/Memory, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Bothy Gallery, 2005)

Surrounding Garden, we find a particular diptych series the artist started in 2014 for a show in Bogota, they are printed on gelatin coated cow bones. In the left side of the diptych (or the top if it is a portrait image), you can see a building in ruins like those we find in many cities around the world. In the right side (or bottom), we can find a vintage X-ray of children with malformations. There is an intended comparison between the body in ruins and a building in ruins. Between the illnesses that damage our structure – for both buildings and humans- and make us incomplete, deformed, and hurt.

Witnesses (20015-2018) is an ongoing series where the artist recovers the calmed and precious handmade production of small-scale wood models, whose three-dimensionality and volume formulate a new plane in the background drawing. The gestuality and the transposition of material forms by the means of graphite, are expressed through the technique of frottage in a set of drawings that recreates the avant-garde fondness for this type of language. These landscapes that are halfway between geometric shapes and the abstraction of textures, evoke a poetic-concrete language where the rhythm of words and free verses written by the artist form a game of lines found, almost by chance, in the visual warp of the drawing.

And after, what will we do? (2016-2018) is a site-specific installation where the public can experience the cycle of nature as well as the menace of contemporaneity. Nature filters the wooden beams rotten and decayed by time and the voracity of insects, fragments and ruins of a house worn out by the weight of history. From the inside of this organic nest, a series of hybrid bodies emerge, termites that, after feeding of architecture they have ended turning into walking buildings. This army of devouring wood eaters has experimented a metamorphosis, their heads transformed in a city that self-constructs and self-devours. This metaphor of a cycle of construction and deconstruction rethinks the precarious equilibrium of the equation society-architecture-sustainability.

Girasoles (Sunflowers) and Guerrero Infinito (Infinite Warrior) are photographs that belong to a bigger series the artist has been working on for the last decade. Following its name The Drawing, The Writing, The Abstraction track the traces of urban graffiti, be it the name of the people that appear in the streets, or figurative or abstract drawings the artist keeps documenting through the years.