After studying architecture at Mexico City’s Universidad Iberoamericana, Pedro Reyes found his calling as a sculptor instead. He uses his art, typically large works sometimes incorporating elements of theater, to call attention to political issues. To protest against his country’s gun culture, for example, he melted down pistols to make shovels to plant trees. But his early interest in architecture reveals itself as well. He launched Pirámide Flotante from a beach in Puerto Rico, and he and his wife, fashion designer Carla Fernández, built Pirámide del Futuro right in their family home. He works in materials including marble and volcanic stone, which he shapes with the assistance of professional masons. The results, straddling the divide between abstraction and representation, force us to see the familiar in new ways, just as the artist asks us to reexamine our preconceived politics.
Represented by Lisson Gallery, Reyes has gained wide recognition. A solo show opens at Dallas Contemporary in September. Then, for a commission from New York’s Creative Time that coincides with Halloween, he will create a haunted house presenting doomsday scenarios related to climate change and other ills. He will also be teaching at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall. In fact, he and Fernández will be co-instructors, offering a class intended to “reimagine the ethos of the Defense Sector and challenge the pervasive contemporary outlook of techno-optimism,” according to the course description. He will focus on performance art, she on costume design. The semester will culminate with their students staging “an Opera for the end of Times.”