You may have seen the work of Guerra De La Paz in 2010, but if you haven’t, you should. Or you can main vein it and go straight to their homepage. No matter which you choose (either or both?) take a gander at their interview:
Tell us your story, why did you leave, did you have trouble leaving?
The story is too long. We left Cuba as children for political reasons resulting in the Cuban revolution after Fidel Castro came to power. Neraldo’s family went to USA direct while Alains’s family went to Madrid before they immigrated into the USA.
It is an abundant material that is easily accessed and represents the essence of individual identity. We use this identity to form ideas of self and community as one of the elements in our work.
How do you get it to be stiff and remain in one place?
The clothing isn’t stiff and we don’t stiffen it. That would take away its essence. We manipulate it into place depending on the artwork and what the desired affect is.
Have you experimented with other media?
Yes. We both have painting backgrounds and have always attempted to push our personal individual boundaries no matter what formats or materials we use. These included painting, photography, sculpture and installation to date.
Did either (or both) of you go to school for art?
We have both gone to art school but both attribute our personal vision to life experience. School is good to find yourself and perhaps to help you focus on your individual voice. In the end as artists we think it best to put education aside to better be in touch with what fuels our perspectives and ultimately our vision. We prefer not identifying with a particular school of thought as a whole to define who we are as artist.
What did you learn there that you do not think you would have otherwise?
School buys you time to explore who you are and questions why become a maker. However, studio time, personal exploration and dedication to your vision is where the art is for us.
How have you seen the field of installation art change since you two began?
We try not to pay attention to what is going on outside our studio as far as the art world is concerned but have noticed an increased appreciation in installation oriented art since we began our collaborations in 1996. However installations have always existed in one form or another.
How has your art changed since you began?
It has organically evolved and become more complex.
Of all your pieces, which are your favorites?
Usually the ones we just finish but some standouts are Male Torso #1- 2010, Sealing the Deal- 2009, Tribute 2002-2012 and Nine- 2007. Reasons being that they were breakthrough works for us.
Who do you consider to be mentors?
Our mentors are all sorts of visionaries from all walks of life.
How does their influence manifest in your work?
It becomes part of us.
Can you tell us what you’re working on next?
We are currently preparing for a solo exhibition in Zurich Switzerland. Simultaneously we are preparing an installation with sound and performer for the Prague Quadrennial. Both these event happen in June 2011. When we return from Europe we concentrate on an installation for St Louis, Missouri and a solo exhibition for NYC. All the above are clothing oriented sculptural and installation new works. All this takes us into 2012 where we will be re installing a bigger version of Tribute and some other works from a private collection in Chicago. We also have several presentations on our work at some universities.
What are your favorite colors and why?
No favorites. Every color has a purpose and we don’t limit ourselves with favorites on any subject. There is always more than one.
Can you tell us about some of the installations pieces you’ve done? Where did you come up with the idea for a mushroom cloud made from clothes?
All our work is inspired from life, current events and the times we are living in. It’s reactionary to the status quo and intended to bring awareness to the viewers. We appreciate work that challenges viewers to think and create dialogue on contemporary issues. The mushroom cloud represents our destruction by our own hands and the imbalance we have created with the natural world.
Is there any specific commentary you’re trying to make with the installation of camouflaged children playing around a bomb?
Its reflective of times of war and crosses all barriers as we are all affected. The work you are referring to is Ring around the Rosy which was created based on a children’s rhyme during the Black Plague in Europe. It also references suicide bombers and the ambivalence that growing up in a war torn country creates amongst children.
What factors into your choice of material when making an installation and your choice of fabric?
Color, texture, sheen and how it can be manipulated.