Pedro Reyes - Artist
See Also
Concrete, furniture
Eschigo Tsumari Triennial, Japan
The new does not necessarily replace the past. We live in an era of anachronisms in which new neighborhoods are made in the fashion of old villages. I thought that if we traveled into the future, we could see architectural styles go backwards. The ultimate house of the future then, would be a cave. In the distant future we will become cavemen again.
I worked with a group of elders from the village of Matsunoyama, in Nigata, Japan. My proposal was to make a teahouse a bit inspired in thoserepresentations of the Buddha where his head has all this round culrs of hair. Freom the inside round bubbles show fragments of the landscape, like bubbles of floating worlds. It was built in the rainy season, all in concrete and all by hand. Small balls of concrete were made in their hands and placed in rows to build the walls. The elderly man told me that the making of this building reminded them of their youths, when they caressed women. To them, this building was like mother nature - one big breast made of many small breasts - so they finished the construction by shaping a tiny nipple on the top.

Fiberglass and lint
XIX Venice Bienial
I set out to design a chair which depending on which position was put you could sit in 7 different ways. Its shape resembles a vertebra which plays in the idea of furniture as an extension of backbone, when assembled in group the back of one chair can serve as a table of the one behind it.
This chair made me think that requesting too many functions from a single object has some disadvantages, like making a cumbersome and hefty object. A paradox of evolution, as for one part to evolve, other must suffer atrophy and will eventually disappear.

Carboard, Strobelight, group activity
Certain electrical patterns in the brain, such as those associated with epilepsy, can trigger peculiar states of consciousness. In making a piñata in the shape of a neuron, my aim was to expand this electrical phenomenon beyond the realm of the self and to scale it to a group behavior. To create a “colective seizure”. The cathartic action of beating this odd object with a stick is accompanied by a strobe light that not only affects the nervous system, but also has a cinematic effect, like an old movie showing a sequence of violent stills.
Utopia Station, 50th Venice Biennalle
In collaboration with Javier Téllez
In “Uccelatto e Ucelini”, Pier Paolo Passolini pictures scenes from the life of Saint Francis, especially those in which he instructs his disciples to go and preach the gospel to the birds. It could be said that the ultimate utopia would be the establishment of interspecies communication. With the help of Venetian masks, we became birds and from up in the trees we communicated with the passersby using exclusively bird language.
Wooden construction
Braunschweig, Germany
Fachwerke is architecture stripped
Fachwerke is architecture for the poor
Fachwerke came from the woods
Fachwerke is rustic
Fachwerke is empirical tectonics
Fachwerke is anti-cuantic space
Fachwerke were in the unconscious of Mondrian, Klee and Dubuffet...
Fachwerke is bare materialism
Fachwerke is anachronistic
Fachwerke is folk
Zik Zak is Fachwerke a gogo
Zik Zak is the woods engineered
Zik Zak is dynamic statics
Zik Zak is a misfit
Zik Zak is kaligariesque
Zik Zak is twisted historicism
Zik Zak is folk deconstruction
Zik Zak is a new merzbau
Zik Zak is an architectural commission for the city of Braunschweig in Germany. It started as a contemporary interpretation of the traditional half-timber houses also known as Fachwerke. This technique consists of a wood skeleton where the interstices are filled.

It is an early system of prefab: the structure was prepared on a wood shop, then the parts were numbered, moved over mules and re-assambled on the site. If you look at a facade, every beam show the stresses and static forces active in the structure. Its like a building with no skin, showing its flesh and bones.

This kind of construction have remain in the spectrum of the vernacular, so my for attempt was to introduce a new gene, a new geometry to make a contemporary interpretation of Fachwerke building. The lines are very presnt so I thought it would be interesting to exploit that visual contrast creating an optical illusion. Because of shape, the building looks straight from one angle, and as you move it becomes a zigzag tower. The tower provides funcions as a deck for the kayacks and for the passerbies who can go to the top and have a view of the city. So as you are moving by the river or by the street you can see how the shape of the building is changing.

I worked with a guild of carpenters that has existed for 5 centuries. This craftman also called Zimmermän travel by foot across Germany, working as apprentices to different masters, until they become masters themselves and start to receive new apprentices. Thus, there is no proper school to become a Zimmerman, but an extended and invisible campus where this teachings ocurr.

When the structure was finished I was invited to put the last nail, drink a jar of beer, and then this poem was read outloud:
Wer ein solchen Turm will bauen
der muss wohl haben ein großes Vertrauen
zu der Kunst der Zimmerleut'
und am Holz 'ne große Freud'
Kamerad schenk ein! Prost!

Wohl, wir dürfen schon drauf pochen,
gerichtet haben wir's in nur 2 Wochen,
es ist ein Zeichen unserer Zeit,
heutigentags geht's schnell, ihr Leut!

Lotrecht steh'n die Pfosten dran,
meint, ihr brächtet's auch so ran?
Dazu braucht man dreierlei:
Ersten muss man seien schwindelfrei.

Zweitens gehört dazu viel Mut,
in Gefahr ein ruhiges Blut.
Drittens: bloß mit großter Kraft
wird ein solches Werk geschafft.

Sind vorhanden diese Drei,
geschickt auch noch der Zimmermann sei!
Dann erst kriegt der Turm den Schlag,
bis es kommt zum Richtfesttag.
Kamerad schenk ein! Prost!

Glücklich ist es jetzt so weit,
alt und jungsich drüber freut,
Turm, du bist des Künstlers Reyes Stolz,
bis eben nicht nur ein großer Haufen Holz.

Und wenn die Sonne brennt so höllenheiß,
rennt in Strömen dir der Scheiß.
Doch in luftiger Höhe dann
man hier ein Freiluftbad nehmen kann.

Bei dem Heben, Ziehen, Stemmen
kannst du die Finger dir bös' verklemmen,
und eh' du denkst: was ist denn los?
has im Kreuz den schönsten Stoß.

Doch mit Holz her! Ho-hau-ruck!
eingesetzt wird jedes Stück.
Ja, da heißt es nüchtern sein,
doch jetzt holen wir es ein!
Kamerad schenk ein! Prost!

Was geschafft hat Hirn und Hand,
schaut jetzt stolz ins weite Braunschweiger Land.
Weht auch noch die Fahne drauf,
steigt ein jeder hier die Treppe rauf.

Von der Höhe - welch ein Blick!
Und so wünsche ich viel Glück.
Der Turm des Künstlers an der Oker hier
Sinnbild sei für Schwung, Kraft und Zier!
Kamerad schenk ein! Prost!

Nun leeres Glas zersplittere im Grund,
geweiht sei dieser Turm zur Stund'!

Vielen Dank!

Richtspruch Zikzak, 26 Juni 2004

Stainless steel structure woven on vinyl string
If a Room has square spaces              the Capula shall be round

If a Room has rigid walls              the Capula shall be elastic

If a Room divides the inside from the outside              the Capula shall be permeable

If a Room is grounded              the Capula shall hover

If a Room is steady              the Capula shall rock or swing

If a Room has walls that block the light              the Capula shall radiate the light

If a Room creates a fixed field of vision              the Capula shall be kinetic

If a Room needs furniture              the Capula will turn itself into furniture

If a Room hides from the view              the Capula allows a glimpse

If a Room is an ensemble of parts              the Capula shall be a continuum

If a Room is steady            the Capula shall rock or swing

If a Room has walls that block the light            the Capula shall radiate the light

If a Room creates a fixed field of vision            the Capula shall be kinetic

If a Room needs furniture            the Capula will turn itself into furniture

If a Room hides from the view            the Capula allows a glimpse

If a Room is an ensemble of parts            the Capula shall be a continuum

In fact,

a sense

of essence


in essence,

the essence

of sense,

in effect.



Capsule        +






Collage on paper
Drawing for Utopia Station poster
XIX Venice Biennale