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Guerra de la Paz: Bonsai Couture / Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zürich

For the Miami-based artistic duo of Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz the exhibition Bonsai Couture at Galerie Kashya Hildebrand is the first exhibition in Switzerland. Guerra de la Paz often use discarded, repurposed or recycled items of daily life for their sculptures. The solo show at Kashya Hildebrand showcases the series “Bonsai Couture” that combines the traditions of bonsai making with the practices of haute couture or high fashion.

Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz of artist duo Guerra de la Paz were both born in Cuba. Alain Guerra studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Neraldo de la Paz at the Northern Illinois University, De Kalb. They met in Chicago the day that Alain was moving back to Miami. They live and work in Miami, Florida. Established in 1996, Guerra de la Paz work in a variety of media, from paintings to sculpture and installation. Currently, they focus on textile work made from unwanted clothing. Guerra de la Paz have also participated in the Prague Quadriennial 2011 with their work MANTO.

Guerra de la Paz: Bonsai Couture at Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zürich / Switzerland. Opening reception, June 8, 2011.

PS: See also: Eveline Politanoff on Bonsai Couture in the Huffington Post, and Guerra de la Paz. Studio Visit.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

Press release:
Galerie Kashya Hildebrand is pleased to present Bonsai Couture, the first Swiss exhibition of Guerra de la Paz, the Miami-based Cuban artistic team of Alain Guerra (b. 1968) and Neraldo de la Paz (b.1955). The two, who have been collaborating since 1996, originally sourced the clothing, fabric andmaterials for their sculptures from second-hand goods shipping companies in Miami’s Little Haiti;today, they still make their sculptures primarily from the discarded, repurposed or recycled items of daily life. Using these new and repurposed materials, Bonsai Couture draws on the aesthetic qualitie sof the handmade in order to create symbols of reshaped identity. Each piece represents individuality redefined not only with delicacy but also with an element of fantasy and extravagance.

In particular, the series combines the traditions of bonsai making with the practices of haute couture or high fashion. In bonsai practice, the aesthetic miniaturization of trees is a meditative process of cultivation that involves painstakingly shaping and sculpting a tree. The process of design and creation in haute couture is comparable: it emphasizes the use of time-consuming, hand-executed techniques as well as custom fitting one-of-a-kind pieces made from high-quality, opulent fabrics. For Guerra de la Paz, merging the techniques and philosophies of these two disciplines results in several surprising insights, and it contributes to a universal dialogue inspired by the divine quest for perfection. In the end, by combining the traditional with the modern and by transcending cultural and aesthetic boundaries, these works address humanity’s instinctive ability to adapt as well as its insatiable desire to achieve perfection through the control of nature.

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