Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea will be featured in the fifth installment of Contemporary Links, SDMA’s acclaimed series that invites renowned contemporary artists to create new artworks in response to the Museum’s permanent collection. Running through October 14, 2007, Contemporary Links 5Alexandre Arrechea: Scalpel and Cotton, is a multi-faceted project consisting of one sculpture, one photograph, and five drawings that reflects on the culture of security systems and surveillance in museums. Each piece incorporates an element from one of four important modern Latin American works from SDMA’s collection, all of which were chosen by the artist himself and will also be on view.
Arrechea’s work will be displayed alongside Leopoldo Mendez’s engraving The Graineries (1930), Diego Rivera’s watercolor, The Head of a Peasant (1935), and two Rivera oil paintings, Mandrágora (1939) and Hands of Dr. Moore (1940). The artist extracted details from each SDMA piece and put them in a new context, thereby exposing similarities and differences between his artistic ideas and the use of popular symbols within Latin American art as a vehicle to question authoritative control.
The title of Arrechea’s exhibition, Scalpel and Cotton, refers to the tools of surgery in Hands of Dr. Moore, of which a detail is featured in Arrechea’s photograph Dr. Moore. His sculpture, titled Arena, is a large-scale model of a sports arena with fourteen monitors showing live feed footage from SDMA’s surveillance system and a detail from Mandrágora projected into the center. One of Arrechea’s drawings, Cornfield, corresponds to The Graineries and replicates a corncob in Mendez’s engraving, isolating and reinventing this revered Mexican symbol into a futuristic, high-tech apparatus.
Alexandre Arrechea was born in Trinidad, Cuba, in 1970 and graduated from the prestigious Instituto de Arte Superior in Havana in 1994. From 1994 to 2003, he was a member of the internationally-recognized Cuban artist group Los Carpinteros. Arrechea has been working as a solo artist since 2003.
Now in its fifth year, SDMA’s annual Contemporary Links series creates a dialogue between traditions that have built the Museum’s collections and SDMA’s commitment to current artistic practice. By blending present and past, it achieves the dual purpose of demonstrating how contemporary artworks can increase the relevancy of historical artworks and how historical artworks can influence contemporary art practice.