Armory Show: Q&A with Nacho Carbonell

We join Carpenters Workshop Gallery for their debut at The Armory Show, featuring the work of Nacho Carbonell. 


The great moment of celebration or triumph or dread or political malaise or [insert idea here] is upon us: The wondrous Armory Show, a valid celebration unlike the gross Art Basel, which is now well-settled into its corporate chokehold. The Armory Show has none of that. It's vetted, it's calm, it's vast, and it's timely. 

Unlike the expectation, Nacho Carbonell's work is obsessively ancient looking, but thoroughly natural in the way that the "miracle of life" or the formation of roots in the ground or rocks across millennia are "thoroughly natural". Carbonell's finest work could be characterized as simply "being". And the view is particularly delightful here, in which the grand studio of the Netherlands-based artist is put on view. 

It is wonderfully atmospheric and patient, the Light Mesh series is not a joke- these forms are improbable statements on contrast and unlikeliness- merging of unnatural foundations, dynamic and individual engagement. Together, you understand them as a body of work. But individually, there is a challenge.  

The studio is the most delightful location, and we are so fortunate that Carbonell has offered a glimpse into his space. Here we asked, on the occasion of the Armory Show, some questions about the studio on view at The Armory Show. It serves as an opportunity to dig into Carbonell's personality and working style.

TIR: What is the ideal studio space?

NC: For me, the best place is where I can do whatever I want and where I have the opportunity to explore. My studio is about 600 square meters. The outside area is about 100+ square meters and is supposed to be for parking but we do not use it for this.

TIR: What is one piece of furniture you cannot live without?

NC: A table is essential.

TIR: Why?

NC: My table is like the diary of the studio. It represents the past, present and future of the studio - a lot of things inspire me there and and things are on standby for me to take things again - small pieces that are there - everything is represented in miniature and I am able to link them together and develop them to create a story. 

TIR: How quickly does work get finished?

NC: My work takes as long as it takes. The result of my first work took 27 years, with that work, I started my career. Sometimes it goes faster then sometimes you make mistakes and it goes slower. We are a small team of seven, all dedicated to production and I am head of design.

TIR: Do you scrap or cancel works as they materialize?

NC: When I look at a piece and see that something is not working, I have a hammer on my workshop table that is here to help me change that moment. If the piece isn't working, I use the hammer. You have to decide to change if the piece isn't working, when you actually take the moment to change, it opens doors to new opportunities. I can feel it when it's not working then I feel that something needs to be changed and I change it.

TIR: What is the role of scale in your work?

NC: The scale is essential, it is what is actually able to create a piece that makes the balance and a way to communicate. 

TIR: Why is nature significant in your work?

NC: Nature is in all of us. We are all part of nature and somehow it is unavoidable. When I express myself, it is being part of nature, this [my work] is what happens.


Carpenters Workshop Gallery at The Armory Show presenting the solo show by Nacho Carbonell from March 8-11, 2018 | Pier 92 & 94 | Booth 912.