Guerra de la Paz: Barbed / Praxis International Art, Miami

Barbed is the title of the current solo exhibition by the Cuban-American artist duo Guerra de la Paz at Praxis International Art in Miami. The centerpiece of the show is the sculptural installation Unidentified, accompanied by three large-sale photographs. In this video Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz talk about the exhibition and the works on display and how anonymously littered garments that were held captive by the barbed wire that topped the industrial fences throughout the Miami landscape inspired them to move into three-dimensional work based on found clothing. This video is an excerpt. The complete interview is available after the jump.

Guerra de la Paz’s work has been shown throughout the United States and Europe, including Saatchi Gallery (London), Miami Art Museum; Art Museum of the Americas (Washington D), Americas Society (New York), Chicago Cultural Center, 21c Museum (Louisville, KY), and the Prague Biennial.

Guerra de la Paz: Barbed at Praxis International Art in Miami’s Wynwood Art District runs through December 31, 2011.

Guerra de la Paz: Barbed. Solo exhibition at Praxis International Art, Miami / USA.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

Complete interview (16:09 Min.):

From the press release:

Guerra de la Paz have been, in their neighborhood, the silent spectators to the abandoned garments that anonymous owners have left laying around over the past years, discarded clothing swaying in the air as it struggles to be freed from barbed wire, expecting to fly towards the sovereignty that always caresses but never leads. These accounts give birth to Barbed, an exhibition that through installation and photography becomes a testimony of the controlled attempts to generate a submissive and oppressed population by psychologically manipulating the perceptions and behaviors of the masses through deceptive and abusive tactics.

Inspired by these images of desire overpowered by domination and by references to the diabolical historical events in death camps, Unidentified arises as an isolated sculptural installation that encapsulates the notions of oppression with its mounds of clothing bulging out while confined within a chain-linked fence crowned by barbed wire; a prison that consumes the essence by grabbing on to whatever residue of it lies within the discarded garments. A representation of an ancient and yet current dilemma, Unidentified will be the central piece of the exhibition, attracting the viewer’s attention to the struggle for freedom that in one way or the other characterizes contemporary society, while also exploring and reinventing the classic icons that have throughout history represented domination.
Through a common aesthetic, Guerra de la Paz creations work with a universal message, this one not being an exception. Understanding that the world is going through a time of global and political change, economical and social turmoil, Barbed serves the double purpose of being an acknowledgment of the victims of tyranny as well as a reminder of the fact that history often repeats itself. As Guerra de la Paz comment about the installation: “referencing carnage and genocide, the dirty laundry of society is embodied in the garments and allegorically personifies the innocent multitudes sacrificed for the sake of a few”.

Guerra de la Paz is the composite name that represents the creative duo efforts of Cuban born artists, Alain Guerra (1968, Havana) and Neraldo de la Paz (1955, Matanzas), who live and work in Miami, Florida and have been consistently producing collaboratively since 1996. Based on a combination of traditional disciplines, experimentation with dimension and the usage of unconventional materials, their work is inspired by the essential familiarity of ready-made found objects that possess archeological qualities and encapsulated energies exposing the significance of the human footprint while revealing underlying psychosocial and environmental messages. They gained access to an overabundance of discarded clothing and the doors opened for them to work with garments as a material; the relics that once defined an individual’s personality now are only residues of the essence they once represented, histories in dregs of scent, silent witnesses to lives that move swiftly between mass consumption and disposability.