Art on the Californian-Mexican Border
Katya Gardea Browne
Luis G. Hernandez
Friday, 23. April 2010, 20 Uhr
Artist Talk with Michelle Chong: So. 25. April 2010, 4PM
Open: Fri-Sun, 2-6PM
exhibition project OFF FENCE. Art on the Californian-Mexican
Border is an artistic platform with five positions, exploring
the cultural overflow, overlap and tensions in the border region
of Southern California and Northwest Mexico.
artists from Los Angeles and Mexico City each deal with the theme
of the border and its effects on Mexican and Mexican-American identity
in uniquely different ways. Michelle Chong and Luis G.
Hernandez produce prints and net.art works which investgate
ethnic identity from a linguistic perspective. The video and photography
work of Ed Gomez and Camilo Ontiveros artistically
reflect the political and economic impact of cultural disruption
and division. The video work of Katya Gardea Browne processes
physical and geographic structures and reflects the formal aspects
of borders as such.
text and image collage TRANS-Poster (2010) by Michelle
Chong uses found photo material that depicts the US and Mexico
border in three different ways: policy making, human made structures
and the natural geography of the region. The phrase "May I
help you?" is looped in English and Spanish translations. The
literal reading of the phrase changes through each translation.
In her internet based work Find Yourself Here (2009), which
was also shown in the 2009 Mexicali Biennale, Chong investigates
the fundamental aspects of migration and mobility.
collage LOS (2009) by Luis G. Hernandez is part of
his on-going project "NOW" (2004-present). He collages
postcard announcements from Latino related exhibitions. From the
colorful collaged bits and pieces the shapes spell out "LOS",
a slang term for local gangs to refer to the city of Los Angeles.
Here Hernandez is observing the phenomena that takes place in Los
Angeles with presenting "Chicano shows." Many times the
only requirement is that the artists are Latino, and not that their
work is about anything related to Mexican-American issues.
Gomez's work investigates the political implications of institutionalising
the Chicano Art Movement of the 1960s and 70s. Using a didactic
appropriated from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA),
Gomez illustrates the American Second Amendment right to bear arms,
by shooting bullets into and through the museum didactic using a
machine gun, hand pistol and a submachine gun. The actions are documented
and presented by digital video that is connotative of insurgent
Ontiveros' work explores the economic implications of cultural
rupture. He presents his work CAUTION: the freeway interventions,
which took common freeway signs from the border zone with images
of a running family on a bright yellow background, and by means
of magentic strips added texts such as "WANTED" "CASH
ONLY," and "NO BENEFITS." Ontiveros' symbolic signposts
are pointed commentaries on the current political situation at the
video Tijuana Girl Crossing (2009), by Katya Gardea Brown,
an artist from Mexico City, explores the physical and geographic
structures of the border region. Her video, filmed in 8mm film,
documents a young woman who for a week wanders along the border
between Mexico and the US. Her image is that of a constantly traveling
figure in the landscape which we seldom see in full view. Through
soft focus and zoom we are reminded of the aesthetic of observation
cameras. Additionally, editing and the use of fragmentation refer
to film as a medium and aim at a formal aesthetic category of borders
Gomez and Luis G. Hernandez are the founders and curators of the
Mexicali Biennale, which interrogates the region between
Mexico and California as an area of aesthetic production. Both artists,
as well as Michelle Chong were particpants in the second Mexicali
Biennale (2009/10) which took place in Mexicali (Mexico) Tijuana
(Mexico) and Los Angeles (USA).
FENCE. Art on the Californian-Mexican Border was conceived and
organised in cooperation with Michelle Chong and Ian Henderson from
the Los Angeles based project space SHORT HOUSE.
Rapp & Christian de Lutz (Art Laboratory Berlin)