Pablo Reinoso works in series that he casts his eye over, kneads and rummages through, exploring a variety of worlds and materials. Just as all series have the potential to be, Reinoso’s are not closed, but always open, reflecting the permanent work in progress which is his way of thinking.
After extracting so-called noble materials from series as coherent and strong as Articulations (1970-1980), Water Landscapes (1981-1986) and Discovery of America (1986-1989), he cast these aside to venture down other pathways and began a series of breathing works (1995-2002) made from canvas and air. Turning the architectural space between installation and minimalism to his own uses, he played with the precariousness of existence, evoking the body, the insistence of urges, life and death.
In Ashes to ashes (2002, Casa de Américas, Madrid), with more maturity, Pablo Reinoso continued his musings on time, the frailty of certainty and fleeting nature of the established order and undertook a project with wooden laths that he twisted and splintered to break them free from their function. In this way he introduces us to the question of loss and from that moment targets something of the impossible and intrinsic aligning of Man with His world. Building on this perspective, but having gained substantial experience in major companies as artistic director and designer in the meantime, he then embarked on a series in which he spotlights an icon of industrial design, the Thonet chair (from 2004). Whilst placing this functional and paradigmatic object at the centre of the work, he takes away its very function – that which gave it a purpose and reason for existing. He developed complex compositions which humorously and mockingly confront us with the lack and fundamental powerlessness of the human being.
As his next starting point, Pablo Reinoso now looked to public benches, anonymous in design, transcending cultures and in some ways unaffected by time or fashion. From 2006 "Spaghetti benches" began to crop up everywhere, making their homes in a wide variety of places. The seat was still his subject of exploration, but this time it was no longer the object but the material which broke free from its original purpose to follow other destinies along its wood, tree and plant trajectory. Reinoso showcases benches which, after fulfilling their job as furniture, return to being branches that grow and climb. They no longer serve a function, but find life and their condition once again. We might say that the desire of the wooden laths becomes apparent, that they enjoy themselves and have fun, all the while fulfilling the role we expect of them: to be a bench, eventually finding free expression by embracing the architecture, exploring the surroundings, the gaps and giving free rein to their whims.
Last but not least, in his series, Scribbling Benchs (from 2009), Pablo Reinoso no longer starts out with an anonymous bench, or an iconic chair, but a material: a steel girder. Unexpectedly, the heavy steel, destined to structure architecture, twists like a thin wire to create a bench and outline feather-light, transparent and contemplative spaces. An architect by training, but a dabbler in everything, inquisitive and often self-taught, Pablo Reinoso has always chopped and changed between disciplines: sculpture, photo, architecture, design, all as different ways of interpreting the world and communicating with it, and just as many ways of creating and rising to challenges.
What remains constant in Reinoso’s work throughout is his desire to never stop asking questions, subverting things, using materials or objects in wholly unintended ways, bringing opposites closer together and forever pushing the boundaries of the impossible. But this always involves heading down unexpected and disconcerting roads, with a touch of humour and mockery, i.e. with a great deal of earnestness and conviction.
A sculptor by training but fundamentally an artist pure and simple, Pablo Reinoso has practised his art in various forms since his early childhood. He produced his first sculpture when he was 13 years old and his first “bench–sculpture” at the age of 15, but he had already made chairs and bookshelves for himself when he was just 6, and had invented carts for hurtling down the slopes of Plaza Francia in Buenos Aires…
With a French mother, but born in Argentina, Pablo Reinoso settled in Paris in 1978. His love for his French grandfather, a highly cultivated man, art lover and avid do-it-yourselfer, stirred his curiosity about humankind’s boundless capacity for invention, spurring him on to learn how to use cabinetmaker’s tools. His sculpture teacher passed on his taste for and respect of noble materials and hard work. He was awarded a grant to learn marble-sculpting techniques in Carrara, which helped him break free from the Argentinian dictatorship, he decided to settle in France.