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Ian Berry, Saratoga Springs, 2010.

Hardcover, 71 pp., color illustrations, 9 x 7 x 0.25 inches.

Los Carpinteros transform everyday domestic objects and common urban structures into grand, fantastical images. Inventive, humorous and at times disconcerting, their surreal amalgamations suggest all might not be what it seems. Their work investigates the mass of seemingly banal objects that surround us by suggesting their complex connections to class, mass production, and consumption.

Opener 19: Los Carpinteros combines drawings from the past ten years with recent sculpture by this Havana-based duo, Marco Antonio Castillo Valdes and Dagoberto Rodriguez Sanchez. Spanish for “the Carpenters,” their moniker underscores the importance of craft in their practice, aligning their studio in solidarity with communal artisan guilds and skilled workers. From a French garden made of twisted beds to a bath towel shaped like a swimming pool, Los Carpinteros’s distinctive imagery springs from the creative repurposing of objects common in Cuban daily life. Multilingual puns in their titles enrich many of their works, as with La Montaña Rusa, literally “the Russian mountain,” but also the term for roller coaster in French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

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