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Lam Series, 2021–ongoing


The series of rattan sculptures by Marco A Castillo is inspired by that generation of interior designers and designers who worked on the construction of utopia and who were in charge of generating the aesthetic muscle that the Cuban revolution used in its beginnings as part of its mechanism of seduction and propaganda

In the early days of the Revolution, a group of designers and architects, worked on a project that could be considered an aesthetic revolution. That group would be in charge of projecting and producing new spaces that would module life of the so-called new man. These were furniture and objects of a more austere type and with a more practical sense, but with an avant-guard design that sometimes reminds us of Scandinavian furniture and the early designs of Ikea. At the end of the 70’s, this process was abandoned due to the lack of capital, the absence of a market and the lack of understanding of institutions that stigmatized that productions for having a “bourgeois taste”. This series suggests the continuity of this tradition and experiments with the possibility of an avant-guard that never became a concrete reality.

The works in this series bear the names of Cuban architects and designers of the time, notably drawing inspiration from the designs of Gonzalo Córdoba, one of the most important designers of his generation. The Lam series are sculptures that are built using an indigenous and African language that recall that Indo-Cuban aspect within the modernist design of the island. The name of the series makes reference to the Cuban artist Wifredo Lam who, in addition to being a reference within Cuban Modernity, uses all these languages in his work.

The choice of this specific movement within Cuban design is not fortuitous. This group emerges, paradoxically, at the same time that the breakdown of the traditional family begins, the disappearance of the middle class and the largest migration ever witnessed on the island. Seen from above, these sculptures look like aerial views of the interior of a house, as if the artist wanted to recover that unbroken image of the Cuban family in the collective memory. These sculptures represent the intimate space shared by a family, their experiences, their stories, the life that has not been crossed by the horror of totalitarianism.

Marco A. Castillo, Lam (Combinada 1), 2023, Katalox, caoba, rattan, 185 x 59 x 30 cm

Katalox, caoba, rattan
185 x 59 x 30 cm

Katalox, rattan
119 x 86 x 39 cm

Katalox, rattan
123 x 92 x 29 cm

Mahogany, rattan
113,8 x 253.4 x 54 cm

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Marco A. Castillo

Marco A. Castillo is co-founder of the collective Los Carpinteros. The group was created in 1992 in Havana, Cuba, to develop practices that combine architectural forms, design and art, independent of individual authorship. While the collective gained wide international recognition as a group, Castillo has also been recognized for his individual work. In his career as an individual artist, he has experimented with the intersections between fine art, applied art, and decorative art to problematize aesthetic expectations and preconceptions associated with the Latin American history of modernism, socialist design, and Cuban traditions. In doing so, he also focuses on Cuba's current political developments as well as the now often forgotten achievements of modern Cuban architects and designers. He has been awarded different prizes, latest being the Medalla por la Cultura Nacional (Cuba, 2002).

Full Biography