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From Death to Music: Artist Pedro Reyes Makes Instruments from Weapons

Courtesy of the artist, Lisson Gallery, London, and Alumnos47 Foundation

When the Carnegie International Exhibition opens Oct. 5, the Hall of Sculptures will be filled with weapons bent on communicating a message of peace, rather than violence.

Mexico City artist Pedro Reyes transforms guns confiscated and decommissioned by the Mexican military to make works of art that are also musical instruments.

“What I’m interested in is turning an agent of death into an agent of life,” said Reyes, the self-described pacifist who calls music the highest form of human communication. “It’s trying to bring a different discussion about our need to curb gun availability.”

Reyes shapes various parts of the weapons into percussion and stringed interments.  Some are intended to be played by humans; others are to be played by pre-programmed robots.

Reyes said he was excited when he was chosen to be in the International in part because of its long and storied history, and in part because he respected many of the artists in the show. He also was excited to visit Pittsburgh.

“We are planning to do some parallel activities, such as a talk at Carnegie Mellon (University) and a little bit of an exchange with musicians,” Reyes said. 

He also said he is looking forward to visiting Jerry’s Records.

Reyes is one of 35 artists from 19 countries that will make up the 2013 Carnegie International.

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