Alexandre Arrechea was born in Trinidad, Cuba, in 1970. For twelve years he was a member of the art collective Los Carpinteros, until he left the group in July 2003 to continue his career as a solo artist. His public art involves concepts of power and its network of hierarchies, surveillance, control, prohibitions and subjection. The spectator’s participation in the work adds to his contemplation. The work arises out of human actions and reactions in the face of contemporary versions of the worldview already described by Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century. The eye of power watches everything and everyone, and everyone watches everyone else and themselves. The interdisciplinary quality of Alexandre Arrechea’s work reveals a profound interest in the exploration of both public and domestic spaces. This quest has led him to produce several monumental projects like “Ciudad Transportable” (2000), “The Garden of Mistrust” (2003-2005) and “Perpetual Free Entrance” (2006).
Alexandre Arrechea graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) of Havana in 1994. Today, he lives in Madrid with his wife, Cuban art historian Madeline Arrechea and their two children, Dalia and Arturo.
Alexandre Arrechea made his name thanks to the art collective Los Carpinteros, composed of Marco Antonio Castillo Valdés and Dagoberto Rodríguez Sánchez. The three artists began working behind their collective moniker back in 1994, and they became rapidly successful. The New-York Museum of Modern Art acquired several of their drawings for the museum’s permanent collection. Alexandre Arrechea decided to leave Los Carpinteros in July 2003, to begin a solo career. His fist individual project was El Jardin de la Desconfianza (The Garden of Mistrust), an epic installation in Los Angeles that required two years of work (2003-2005). The central piece of the work was a whitewashed aluminum tree whose branches were outfitted with video cameras which recorded spectators and broadcasted them on the Internet. His public art often involves concepts of power and its network of hierarchies, surveillance, control, prohibitions and subjection. The spectator’s participation in the work adds to its contemplation.
For the 10th Havana Biennial (March 27 – April 30, 2009), Alexandre Arrechea worked on a project named La habitación de todos (The Room of All), which is a sculpture of a house that expands or contracts according to, respectively, the rise or fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Today, he works on a public art project in New-York, involving video projections on buildings.
His work will be showcased in the upcoming Venice Bienale.
- American University Museum at the Katzen, Washington D.C. USA
- “Espacio Derrotado”, [January 30] Casado-Santa Pau Gallery, Madrid, Spain
- “Sweet Fear”, [February 15] Alonso Art, Miami, Florida. U.S.A.
- “Contemporary Links” [June 30] San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, U.S.A.
- Perpetual Free Entrance, Museo Patio Herreriano, Valladolid, Spain.
- The Limit, Mary Goldman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA – CAC de Malaga, Spain.
- Dust, Magnan Projects, New York, USA
- “Dos nuevos espacios”, Espacio Aglutinador, La Habana, Cuba.
- Arte público, Mark Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
- Sudor, Proyecto de arte público, La Havana, Cuba
- Novos Desenho, Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, Brazil.
- Artist in residence, The Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, New Castle, England.
- Ciudad Transportable, Contemporary Art Museum of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii.
- Túneles Populares, Palacio de Abrahante, Salamanca, Spain.
- Los Carpinteros, Galería Camargo Vilaça, São Paulo, Brazil.
- Ciudad Transportable, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA.
- Los Carpinteros, Grant Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
- Ciudad Transportable, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
- Los Carpinteros, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA.
– 2007 : We are Your Future, 2 Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art, curated by Ethan Cohen and Juan Puntes, Art Center Winzavod, Moscow. Infinite Island: Contemporary Caribbean Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY.
– 2006 : Taipei Biennial Dirty Yoga, curated by Dan Cameron, Taiwan. Fatamorgana: Illusion and Deception in Contemporary Art, curated by Tami Katz-Frieman, Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel. Open House Exhibition, Ellipse Foundation Contemporary Art Collection, Centro Cultural de Cascais, Cascais, Portugal. Moving Image: Video, Animation and Software Art, Alonso Art, Miami, FL. Impakt 2006, Centraal Museum, Louis Hartlooper Complex, Tivoli/De Helling and other venues, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, San Diego, CA.
– 2005 : Form Follows Dysfunction, Michael Steinberg Fine Arts, NY. Group Show, Magnan Projects Gallery, New York, NY. Out of Place, Mary Goldman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Salon de arte contemporaneo, Centro de Desarollo de Las Artes Visuals, La Habana, Cuba.
– 2004 : Ay, Mami! Program of Cuban video at the Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, England. Festival of Independent Film & Video, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Awards, fellowship, recognition
Braziers International. Oxfordshire, England.
Artist in residence, The Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, New Castle, England.
Prize. Fomento de las Artes, UNESCO, 7ma Bienal de la Habana, Havana, Cuba.
First Prize, Contemporary Art-People’s Award, El Mundo Magazine, Argentaria Foundation. ARCO Fair.
Biography photo: Alexandre Arrechea official website