What Could Happen If I Lie ? delves deep into Arrechea’s investigation of surveillance and secrecy in the private and public realms. It is also about personal and political control and the consequences of manipulated truths. Arrechea explains, “The artwork is based on the idea of destabilizing traditional concepts which we hold about icons and their function in society.”
Throughout the exhibition Arrechea explores the trajectory of a lie—its perception as truth, and the convoluted circumstances that ensue as a consequence. The title piece in the exhibition presents two hands with skin comprised of text resembling a crossword puzzle. The epidermis seduces the viewer to examine a conceptual web of reality and deception.
Arena 2 – a 43-inch fiber basketball and stadium chairs attached to its surface – conjoins the idea of the public and the spectacle under surveillance in a single hybrid space. Distorted measurements induce viewers to ponder over the manipulation of truth as systematically conveyed in Cm v. Inches , a play on notions about the accuracy of objective, factual information depicted by a light box with images of woven measuring tape.
Marilyn Zeitlin, of the Arizona State University Art Museum observes, “Toying with the mechanisms of repression seems to be the content underlying the title work of the exhibition. If fate is a foregone conclusion over which we have no control, is that not a form of repression? What if a palm reader lied to you about your fate? What if your palm could dissemble the truth? What would be the consequences? In this work, LEDs on a palm-shaped board create different images as the patterns change. The implications are that we can become convinced that we are trapped in a fate that is simply the manipulation of the truth. We cannot fight the inevitable.
The work channels us into taking the present seriously. The artist seduces us with his intelligence, wit, and the beauty of the objects. Arrechea makes work that does not point a finger at anyone – it is universal in that sense. It is intensely political, but not propaganda. It is political theory.”
Alexandre Arrechea was born in Trinidad , Cuba and graduated from the prestigious Superior Art Institute of Havana in 1994. From 1994 – 2003 Arrechea was a member of the Cuban collective Los Carpinteros . As a solo artist, Arrechea has exhibited widely in the US and abroad. Most recently, he was a finalist for the 2007 Emilio SÃ¡nchez Award in the Visual Arts, Cintas Foundation, Miami , FL and had solo exhibitions at the San Diego Museum of Art, California as well as Patio Herreriano, Valladolid , Spain . Arrechea has an upcoming solo show scheduled at the American University Museum, Washington, DC and will participate in numerous group exhibitions including Artsonje Center and Kumho Museum of Art in Seoul, Korea and “Caribbean Encounters”, Brooklyn Museum, New York. Biennials include the Taipei Biennial, Republic of China, (2006) and a special project at the 2 nd Moscow Biennale of Fine Arts, Russia (2007). The artist currently lives and works in Havana , Cuba and Madrid , Spain .
A catalogue documenting the exhibition will also survey Arrechea’s career as a solo artist. Marilyn Zeitlin, Director and Chief Curator, Art Museum of Arizona State University contributed a critical essay of the artists work.