Antonio O’Connell

Born 1974 in Mexico City, Mexico. Lives and works in Mexico City, Mexico


Open House

Variable dimensions, mixed media (wood, paint, scrap materials)

I thought about the idea of “building” as a metaphor of the values upon which a society is built. Everyone builds in a sense with their actions and a society in a process of constant building and rebuilding because they are constantly changing. I thought of building a kind of house that surrounds the statue of Engelbrekt, but in an unfinished state, more like a construction site or work-in-progress.

Open House is a metaphor of the Swedish society, known for its openness and efforts to create an equal society, which undergoes changes as the world becomes a more complex place. The values upon which societies have been built can be distorted throughout the years and sometimes it’s necessary to go back and reflect upon foundations. The installation gives people the opportunity to get very close to the freedom fighter, Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, and reflect with him upon values in our society.

Artist Statement

Most of my architectural installations are an ironic view at the structures of our society, intrusions that examine a contrasting world and the values upon which our societies are built. As a practicing architect, I had an intrinsic need to explore and go beyond the boundaries of the discipline in search for meaning. I was confronted and inspired by the way people with low economic statuses build their homes in Mexico, as well as the way traditional builders (albañiles) create with wood and scrap – complex work.

This makes the construction process far more interesting to me than the finished buildings. The themes I’ve worked with vary from architectural theory to social, economic and political issues. In my art, I look at the relation between art, architecture and religion, combined with personal life experiences. I think of my work as creating a conceptual space between art and architecture, an invitation to wonder, dream or reflect on the possibility of imaginary worlds weaving into our reality.