Praxis International Art is proud to present Barbed, a solo exhibition by the Cuban-American duo Guerra de la Paz, opening on November 12 and running through December 31, 2011.
In the year 2000, Guerra de la Paz began to take notice of anonymously littered garments that were held captive by the barbed wire that topped endless miles of industrial fences throughout the Miami landscape. Captivated by the symbolically charged power of these isolated found compositions, they began to document and record select scenes in their temporal habitats while witnessing their interplay with nature. – The wind breathes life into the entangled clothes that metaphorically struggles to free themselves from the clutches of their captors. Every movement further secures the treacherous grip and deepening wounds, giving little chance for freedom. As time lapses, rain weighs with burden and weakens while the sun rots and bleaches out their identity, fabric shreds and slowly decomposes, a painful analogy of tortured flesh.
Guerra de la Paz’s first encounter with one of these scenarios not only produced an ongoing series they titled Barbed, but also demarcates a significant pivotal point in their artistic career, a shift from two to three dimensional work based on found clothing, transitioning into the realm of textile which has proven to be a definitive factor of who they have become within their fifteen years as a collaborative.
Through a common aesthetic, Guerra de la Paz creations manifest universal messages. The exhibition features never exhibited work that is intentionally sparse to illustrate how the images revealed themselves to the artists, one at a time, with distance in between. The three selected produced images take form as large format photographs all from 2010 that elegantly dot the gallery walls and pay homage to man’s insatiable and resilient quest for freedom; while the single installation Unidentified - 2011 comes to fruition as the centerpiece to this thought provoking exhibition. Inspired from their note worthy photographs, the sculptural installation looms as a mass effigy of a deceived population, victims of tyrannical appetites that reference diabolical historic events – specifically death camps. Carnage and genocide is represented by society’s dirty laundry, where embodied energy is trapped within each of the garments and allegorically personifies the innocent multitudes sacrificed for the sake of a few. The work speaks of the controlled attempts to physically and psychologically manipulate the masses through underhanded, deceptive and abusive tactics in order to create a submissive and oppressed social agenda. Notions of oppression are defined within its mounds of clothing compressed, confined and contained within a chain link cubical crowned by barbed and razor wire: a prison that voraciously consumes. At a time of global change, political, economic and ecological turmoil Unidentified, serves as acknowledgement and reminder that history often repeats itself.