Retráctil, 2018

Still: Courtesy the artists

Single-channel video installation, b/w, sound
17 min 6 sec

With a practice spanning over twenty-five years, the moniker “Los Carpinteros” emphasizes the duo’s passionate focus on craftsmanship while giving a knowing nod to their uniquely quirky sense of humor. Frequently described as “interrogative art,” Los Carpinteros remain boundless in their use of material and presentation, which can range from drawings to watercolors, objects and furniture models to film. Their works frequently have an acid edge of social and political critique, calling for reflection on objects, society, and history.

The short film Retráctil centers on a significant moment in Fidel Castro's revolution. In what became known as “the Padilla affair,” the Cuban poet and intellectual Herberto Padilla first supported the Castro regime, but began to criticize it openly by the late 1960s. In 1971, Padilla was imprisoned and forced to make a statement of self-criticism. In the statement he confessed to the charges of being a counterrevolutionary and accused others, including his wife, of the same. Widely controversial, his arrest lead intellectuals in Latin American, North America, and Europe to lose faith in the revolution, marking a turning point in Cuban history.
– Alicia Reuter