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.