Funtopia 4: La Montana Rusa by Los Carpinteros

Despite merging architecture, engineering, physics, kinetics and function into a (mostly) aesthetically pleasing structure, the rollercoaster is not really at home in the art world.

The only media interest it gets is when a new one breaks current records or when an old one breaks down. Even abstract theories use the roller coaster as a fairly pedestrian and weary synonym: "Life is a rollercoaster" (which might be so profound that there is nothing to add to it) and the boring old comparing of the stock-market to a coaster ride. Recently we see lots of the latter and I guess we will have to endure much more of it in the near future.

The exhibition, La Montaña Rusa by Cuban artits duo Los Carpinteros, consists of a new work of the same name, which alludes to both a roller coaster and a bed, juxtaposed with other new sculptures and a group of drawings. The exhibition investigates Los Carpinteros' interest in objects of domesticity, as exemplified by items such as beds, swimming pools and shelves.

La Montaña Rusa, which occupies the main room of the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York, demonstrates the artisanal aesthetic of Los Carpinteros' oeuvre, at the same time as it domesticates a large-scale public form of outdoor entertainment.

The work's title literally translates to "Russian mountain" in English, but it is commonly known as the Spanish term for roller-coaster. This double entendre is consistent with much of the work of Los Carpinteros. La Montaña Rusa clearly alludes to the cycles of life, rest, dreaming, sexuality, birth and death.

Finally I see that famous Bette Davis quote in a new light: "Hold on tight, it´s going to be a bumpy night!"

Coaster purists will argue that it is not really a coaster-bed because it doesn´t have a lifthill and it is not a continuous circuit.

More on Los Carpinteros here. Visit the Sean Kelly Gallery.

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