Friday, January 10, 2014

De Esperanza Y De Locura/Of Hope and Madness

Migration is beautiful
De Esperanza Y De Locura closed but it has stayed with me: I find myself ruminating over pieces I saw there in the way that I run my thumb over a swatch of cloth, feeling the same small part again and again, for the pleasure of feeling it and, in feeling it, knowing it. So I re-begin this blog that was so close to my heart that I had to stop writing it with an exhibition that is no longer up but, I believe, still speaks.
Los Brincos

This show pulled together several artists-- Erika Harrsch, Miguel Luciano, Esperanza Mayobre, Omar Pimienta, Favianna Rodriguez and Judi Werthein--on the topic of migration. Though none of the pieces were collaborative, the resounding theme across the show was one of flight. There were kites and butterflies, most particularly the Monarch butterfly—which, because it migrates between México and North America and takes several generations for each migration, is an apt symbol for Mexican-Americans—altered passports and paper currency that invoked dreams of the ease of motion across borders that butterflies have. Collectively, the exhibition set about imagining a new geopolitical geography, erasing limitations and exploring the freedom of flight, of superseding borders.
Pimiento, Harrsch and Wertheins’ installations all directly addressed the politics and physical limits of the borders. Pimiento works primarily with expired passports, which he takes and alters, granting the holder citizenship to Colonia Libertad in Tijuana. His simple inclusion of all into the Colonia defined by transition and passage extends the reach of Colonia Libertad to all the places in the world where Libertad citizens reside and grants the holder movement to move freely across all the earth’s landmasses. While Pimiento imagines passage into a borderless world, Harrsch sets forth a united North America, a borderless union of Canada, the United States and Mexico, “similar to NAFTA yet, in this case, actually providing equal social, political and economic benefits to all citizens of these regions.” She, like, Pimiento, also designs passports; hers, however, are embossed with a monarch butterfly, as is her flag of The United States of North America. Her installation features a series of passports mounted on the wall with history, law and hopes of her fictional land inscribed on them as well as a “Wheel of Fortune,” which attendees could spin to determine if and how they could pass, with the potential to land on illegal alien, non-citizen, caution, try again, citizen, you are not eligible.
Werthein’s “Los Brincos” was one of my favorite pieces here. She created the shoes (for that is what Los Brincos are: a pair of shoes in the likes of Air Jordans—meaning, “the jumps,” the athletic shoes play on the high cost and coveted status of some athletic shoes) specifically for a pathless journey through the desert: they come equipped with compass, flashlight, map of crossing-routes on the bottome and painkillers in case of injury. She designed them toe-forward towards the U.S.: the Aztec eagle is embroidered on the heel and the American eagle on the front. She sold them in San Diego and NYC galleries for 215 dollars and distributed them for free to migrants.

United States of North America-Passport Installation
Rodriguez, Luciano and Harsch, in another piece, all literally used wings in their pieces. Rodriguez created “Migration is Beautiful,” a mural of butterflies flying upwards and out from three children. It comes with a poster featuring a single butterfly, based on the monarch butterfly, but the markings, in this case, outline faces. Hers is a celebration of the “beauty, pride and resilience” of migrants. Luciano, with his “Dreamer Kites” performs a similar celebration. He used images of Dreamers—students who are undocumented but wish to study—, made kites out of them and mounted them from the ceiling, literally giving them wings.

No comments:

Post a Comment