Carla Fernández and Pedro Reyes at home (Photo by Ana Hop)
Pedro Reyes' "Sundial," 2015, Carrara marble and brass
A bedroom at the home of Reyes and Fernández
Sculptural works in the brutalist living space at their home
The home's geometric, concrete staircase
In the library-living space, is Reyes' ever-growing collection of books.
WHILE A HOUSEGUEST OF MEXICO CITY ARTIST PEDRO REYES AND FASHION DESIGNER CARLA FERNÁNDEZ, DALLAS CONTEMPORARY DIRECTOR OF EXHIBITIONS AND SENIOR CURATOR JUSTINE LUDWIG DELVES INTO THE COUPLE’S POETIC AND ARTFULLY INTERTWINED WORLDS AS REYES READIES HIS EXHIBITION, “FOR FUTURE REFERENCE,” AT DALLAS CONTEMPORARY.
When one arrives at the home of Carla Fernández and Pedro Reyes in the Coyoacán neighborhood of Mexico City, an unassuming, lightly graffitied wall that is painted Post-it note yellow looms. The entry is incongruous with what exists beyond the entry doors: Their residence is a work of art.
Gray hammered concrete comprises most of the building. Breezy, open, and full of art and books, it’s ideal for the artist and fashion designer and their two children. Not only is it a living space, it’s the couple’s creative laboratory and studio.
Designed by an unknown architect but reminiscent of international architect Luis Barragán, colorful ambient light — created from beams bouncing off brightly painted walls — pours into the living room. Yellow, orange, and pink warm the prevalence of gray throughout, as does an abundance of interior plants and trees. Reyes’ sculptural works populate the communal spaces. His practice emphasizes research and experimentation, thus iterations of his projects from models to full-scale versions, light fixtures, and seating have been arranged by the artist, seamlessly merging form and function.
Reyes trained as an architect at The Ibero-American University in Mexico City, and it’s evident in the home’s details and furnishings. The dining-room table is his design — oblong, amoebic in form, made from poured concrete — matches all other fixtures within the kitchen. The sink and bathtub in the master bath are a hybrid of Paleolithic, modernist, and science fiction sensibilities; an extension of the artist’s thought process.
The massive block of bookshelves in the living room is being further expanded to accommodate an ever-growing collection of books, which Reyes accumulates wherever he travels. His assortment ranges from the classic to the esoteric, Greek philosophy juxtaposed with the fantasy coffins of Ghana.
Both Reyes and Fernández look to the past to see the future and merge activism with art. One recent focus has been the unintentional destruction of Mexico City’s land art Espacio Escultórico, a massive ring of 13-foot stone pyramids. The National Autonomous University of Mexico inadvertently erected a building that obstructed the horizon line of this work, which, according to many, destroyed the piece.
In response, Reyes led the charge by organizing leading artists and thinkers to speak out against the building and advocate for the restoration of Espacio Escultórico by removing the structure. Fernández, meanwhile, used Espacio Escultórico as a location for her Spring/ Summer 2016 collection look book, bringing greater visibility to the cause.
Fernández’s effortlessly chic fashion aesthetic draws from the history of Mexican working with artisans, she creates sustainable business models, with an emphasis on supporting women. By merging heritage techniques with innovation, Fernández makes tradition relevant.
For the designer, art and fashion are entwined. She was the subject of the recent exhibition “#LatinsInVogue” at Museo Jumex, and the publication The Barefoot Designer: A Handbook.
Currently, Fernández is included in “SiteLines.2016: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas” at Site Santa Fe, which features 35 artists from 16 countries, representing contemporary art from the Americas. Fernández also participated in the Singapore international festival of the arts, The O.P.E.N., where she presented Dances and Ceremonies, bringing together the crafts and ideas of 11 different indigenous tribes from around Mexico in the form of a sensory experience.
As for Reyes, his political haunted house, commissioned as part of the Creative Time Summit in Washington, D.C., is currently on view. The project occupies a defunct subway station and brings to light contemporary horrors we’ve come to take for granted.
Reyes also has a major solo exhibition on view at Dallas Contemporary, “For Future Reference.” The show charts the artist’s diverse interests, ranging from Greek philosophy to modernism, all through the framework of sculpture. It’s the closest many will get to bunking at casa Reyes-Fernández.
“For Future Reference,” on view through December 18, at Dallas Contemporary.