Clips from video Interviews with seven artists from the Cruzando Fronteras exhibition presented by Emergent Art Space at the Galeria de la Ciudad, Tijuana, Mexico
Dmitri Zurita, USA & Mexico
“It’s interesting because most people think of borders and it’s not a physical thing in your life. Borders, you may think of them in the abstract and that’s sort of the only way that you’re able to deal with them. But for us in Tijuana, the border is one of the most real things you can experience: it’s next to our freeways, it’s next to our homes, it’s part of your daily life. And it influences you psychologically, socially, and culturally. So for us to deal with that, it’s critical for us to deal with what that means and how it affects us, and how it’s influencing our lives.”
Artwork: Standing/Tanks, Coated Archival Inkjet Prints
Artist Statement: I stand at a crossroads, crossing back and forth amongst nations, and existing somewhere in-between. Actively prying open the gap between evidence and reality, offering viewers a set of questions that require them to perceive, decode, or enter into another way of seeing. Cut-outs are produced through transnational exchanges that take place in social media and virtual-labor marketplaces in which each individual receives fair payment without taxation. Employing self-empowered artists post-nationally, these large scale photographs challenge the curated image by re-contextualizing iconic photographs and displacing signifiers. This work is the product of processing and responding to contemporaneity, positioning my process as gesture and performance, each purposeful action allowing for chance and ambiguity
Jillian Grant, USA
“I think my work promotes conversation about what it means to grow up along the US-Mexico border. And to me borders are definitely dividers, but they also signify all the connections between the people living on both sides because cities like San Diego and Tijuana, and Nogales and Sonora–– it’s kind of one city. It [the border] kind of creates a third community. So my work is about bridging those communities together.”
Artwork: Reyna D. Montano, Fernando Quinones, Photographs
Artist Statement: These photographs are part of We Walk the Line // Caminamos La Linea, a project that explores how the U.S.-Mexico border affects the lives and identities of young Mexican-Americans inhabiting the San Diego area. Reyna D. Montano grew up in Barrio Logan, San Diego. The contextual photograph was taken in Chicano Park. Fernando Quiñones grew up in Nogales, Sonora, México. The contextual photograph was taken near the U.S.-Mexico Border.
Alyssa Hutton, USA
“I, and many people in Tijuana, have grown up crossing borders on a daily basis. And I feel like I’ve grown up in this place not thinking of it as one side and then the other, but sort of as a singular place that is sort of reflexed over this point of contention [the border] that is constructed and militarized. So I feel like borders are something that can and need to be crossed. I feel like the act of constructing and fortifying our borders really just breeds a culture of fear and misunderstanding and really brings people further apart than they actually are.”
Artwork: Parque, Mixed Media
Artist Statement: Parque looks at the Chicano Park in the Barrio Logan neighborhood in southeast San Diego. The park is a cultural center for the Chicano community that fought against the city of San Diego to keep the land they were promised before the community was displaced and divided by the construction of the Interstate 5 and Coronado Bridge on ramps. Area residents occupied the land, and landscaped the park with local desert plants and covered the pylons in murals that celebrated local and Chicano culture. The project of Chicano Park is an instance of community’s resilience and creative response to state oppression.
Mario Echeveste, Mexico
“Well for me to think about ‘borders,’ in this piece, and where my work has taken me, has been easy for me as a Tijuana citizen, as a border citizen. I do not want to use a cliché, to say I am a “fronterizo” (border citizen), but actually I am. For me it’s natural to cross the border, to go to San Diego and Los Angeles, come back to México, speak English and Spanish, and to deal with it on a daily basis. But there are other borders, the physical ones like a fence, and the subtle ones, such as the mind; the mind is malleable, we can pour positive and negative things on the mind. And well for me the question is, how does art contribute to globalization? This is my vision of life, we all are spiritual souls so all the inhabitants of this world are spiritual souls.”
Artwork: NSEC I, collage on plywood
Artist Statement: “I am not this body;” This piece takes us to re-think the idea of being a body.Who am I then? Invite us to visit the edges between the matter and the spirit soul.
Mayte Escobar, USA
“I definitely love this push and pull because it’s this constant push and pull between Mexico and the United States. It’s a constant push and pull between a lot of different countries and a lot of different borders that are created. And my parents were here because of a push, because of that opportunity, and pulled into the United States because of a job, because of the American Dream.”
Artwork: Huellas (Tracks), Vídeo, 1:06
Artist Statement: Huellas 2013 is a video diptych in which the two parts are in conversation. It focuses on the United States and Mexico and their large number of states. Escobar presents to the viewer the border she treads.
Daniel Peña, Mexico
“It [Daniel Peña’s Sight and Sound project] shows how different peoples lifestyles are on both sides of the border. They’re both musicians, they both play music on the street, but it’s really interesting to see how they’re portrayed differently.”
Artwork: Street Musician #4, #7, #10, Photographs and audio recordings
Artist Statement: From the series Sight & Sound: A photo series documenting street musicians from various cities around the world. It combines photography & audio to create a new experience in a still image. These are musicians from Tijuana, San Diego, and Mexico City.
Heidi Cramer, USA
“I think artists specifically have an amazing opportunity to transcend boundaries because we exist in a place that allows us to have no boundaries. These gallery walls allow us to drop all of our pretexts, and all of our borders and boundaries––conceptual and physical–– at the door, and experiment.” To see what it would be like to cross lace with a boat, to see what it would be like to erase bodies from newspapers [referring to works by Alejandro Morales], and the tanks from Tiananmen Square [referring to Dmitri Zurita's piece Standing/Tanks], to exist in a world where we can live without borders and boundaries. And if we can live there in our minds, we can conceptualize it, and if we can conceptualize we can make that dream happen.”
Artwork: Adrift, Lace and wire
Artist Statement: I use recycled materials in my sculptures to represent the process of change, and transform how the material is received by the audience. By rendering a boat in lace, I juxtapose their respective associations, creating a dialogue between the masculine and the feminine. Through manipulating material and form, Adrift evokes a feeling of movement and space. The piece invites the audience to contemplate the light as it moves through the designs, casting patterned shadows across the floor, haunting the space with feelings of romance, distance, longing and memory.
Read more about the Cruzando Fronteras exhibition here.