This exhibition offered a glimpse at the fascinating work of rediscovered Uruguayan artist Wifredo Díaz Valdéz (*1932), who creates unusual wooden sculptures out of imaginatively deconstructed everyday objects.
Over the decades Valdéz’s free-standing works have remained without parallel. He produces them by deconstructing furniture, tools and everyday utensils found in the rural regions of his homeland. Working with the greatest artisanal precision throughout, he begins by analyzing the item, the condition of its wooden structure and its artistic potential. He then creates from it an object that seems unchanged, like the original, but that can now be opened or unfolded with playful elegance thanks to the wooden plugs and hinges he has added. It’s a metamorphosis that obliterates the memory of the object’s original function, turning a dismantled old wagon wheel or unfolded chair into a symbol: everyday banality transmutes to the abstract.
The work of Wifredo Díaz Valdéz reverses the cycle of growth and decay, and with it the course of time. Wood that once grew organically becomes an everyday object and then a work of art, removed from its organic cycle, protected from physical decay, a relic of civilization that has lost its function.
Construir Desconstruyendo tells of becoming and decaying, life and death, inside and outside, before and after, sense and nonsense, seriousness and play, time and space, and, indeed, of life itself.
Curators: Hans-Michael Herzog, Katrin Steffen