Cuban artist and Los Carpinteros alumnus Alexandre Arrechea's latest body of work spins Manhattan landmarks on their heads. Playfully reinterprating iconic buildings like the Chrysler Building, the US Courthouse and the Empire State Building, his series of 10 bending and flexing sculptures are currently being positioned across a 20-block stretch of manicured Park Avenue.
Each mammoth sculpture of the 'No Limits' installation - presented by Magnan Metz Gallery, in partnership with the city's Department of Parks and Recreation and the Fund for the Park Avenue Sculpture Committee - is utterly loyal in its verisimilitude, and brims over with irony. Despite being constructed form 18,000 lbs of stainless steel, they loop and coil and curve to reflect social and political shifts of today's world.
'I wanted to create a link between the sculptures and an outside event,' says Arrechea. 'They go beyond the realm of architecture and reflect the constant change that we experience in our surroundings.'
Consequently, his version of Warren and Wetmore's the Helmsley Building takes the form of a snake eating it's own tail. 'It's a play on the [Ouboros] myth. It's like a city that devours itself. That has always been my first vision of New York,' the artist explains.
The concept for 'No Limits' revisits an idea Arrechea initially explored in 2009's 'A Room for All'. Exhibited during the Havana Biennale, the work comprised a small house that expanded and contracted according to the rise and fall of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
This week's installation (the last sculpture will be installed on 28 February) marks the culmination of an almost two-year process, from the initial ink drawings, watercolour paintings and detailed maquettes, to Autocad renderings and the actual constructions from steel.
Arrechea's vast sculptures are sure to add a jolt of life to the Upper East Side. The public aspect of the project has not escaped him either - visitors will be able to rotate and spin some of the 20 foot high pieces to fully experience the artist's vision.