Acerca de esos incansables atlantes que sostienen día por día nuestro presente
1) drawing
signed and dated 'Garaicoa, 1995' (lower right); titled and dated 'ACERCA DE ESOS INCANSABLES ATLANTES QUE SOSTIENEN DIA POR DIA NUESTRO PRESENTE, La Habana, Cuba 1994' (upper left)
ink on translucent paper
60 x 8212 in. (152.4 x 209.6 cm.)

2) photograph
silver dye-bleach (Ilfochrome) print
1934 in. x 2323 (50 x 60 cm.)
Executed in 1994-1995.
Two in one lot.
Private collection, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
C. Garaicoa, et al., Carlos Garaicoa: Continuity of sombody's architecture. Project for Documenta 11. Platform 5, Italy, Gli Ori, 2002 (illustrated, p. 41).
A. Ruiz, et al., Carlos Garaicoa: Capablanca's Real Passion, Italy, Gli Ori, Prato, 2005 (illustrated, p. 114).
Bogotá, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Casa de Moneda; New York, The Bronx Museum of the Arts; Caracas, Museo Alejandro Otero, Carlos Garaicoa: La ruina, la utopía, 2000-2001, no. 18, p. 117 (illustrated, p. 14 and 58).
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); New York, Grey Art Gallery; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Shifting Tides: Cuban Photography after the Revolution, April 2001 - March 2002 (illustrated, p. 66).
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Lot Essay

“In the complexity of a big city, a lot of people are fighting for something, looking for something,” Garaicoa once remarked. “So the city is a very rich subject to make work about love, hate, history, beauty, what people expect from life and how politics get involved” (in A. Wallach, “Below the Surface: Daydreams of Havana, and Other Cities, Too,” New York Times, 19 May 2005). The city has long fascinated Garaicoa, and his multimedia practice—spanning drawing, photography, installation, and video—imaginatively reconstructs relationships between architecture and urbanism; utopia and decay; past, present, and future. A graduate of Havana’s Instituto Superior de Arte, Garaicoa emerged during Cuba’s Special Period of the 1990s, and his work reflects the critical dissonance of that time around revolutionary and Communist ideology.
An early work, Acerca de esos incansables atlantes que sostienen día por día nuestro presente pairs a photograph of an architectural ruin in a corner of Old Havana with an ink drawing that envisions the building’s restoration. A row of classical Atlantean figures supplants the ramshackle supports seen in the photograph, their bodies braced against the balconied facade. “His work appropriates the nostalgia of allegorical ruins to criticize the Cuban government’s blind commitment to a defunct ideology,” notes Jodi Kovach. “The images that comprise his diptychs…suggest a more complicated narrative of Cuba’s modernity, in which tentative construction plans represent empty promises of economic growth that must negotiate the real socio-economic crises of the present” (“Architectural Ruins and Urban Imaginaries,” Contemporaneity 5, no. 1, 2016, pp. 74-5).
Abby McEwen, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

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