locations: tijuana, tecate, mexico city & la
From Bedwyr Williams’s ”Century Egg’
Artists from the Future
Site-specific group exhibition at The Free School of Architecture, Tijuana, 29 Nov – Dec 15, 2018
Honourable mention by Chris Kraus in Artforum: Vol 58, September, 2019
Go to: Curatorial Text
Artists from the Future – Press Release
Artists from the Future
We are not used to think of the artist figure when we think of contemporary art. Instead, we discuss curatorial concepts, philosophy or the works themselves. But let us put it plainly: It is difficult to live as an artist. Especially in a place like Tijuana, which is far from the capitals with the big money, the big museums and where the big curators live.
This exhibition presents artworks that are exemplary of a new kind of autonomous, daring contemporary artist figure, which is emerging out of Tijuana, Mexicali and the marginal spaces of identity. The absence of government and the nature of the interstitial space of the border determine this wonderfully independent artist figure.
These artists are not afraid to show the processes behind the artworks and they are not afraid of collaborating.
This artist figure is forced to / bold enough to take on multiple roles – art maker, curator, gallerist, teacher. It is a balancing act where the artist risks his/x/her position vis-a-vis the prevailing contemporary art trends, which emphasises cool detachment, abstraction and distance. This risk is heightened as the artist negotiates fluid and challenging existential conditions.
We see the traces of this risk and the traces of lives lived in the works presented here in different ways — some more explicit than others.
Artistas del futuro
No estamos acostumbrados a pensar en la figura del artista cuando pensamos en el arte contemporáneo. En cambio, discutimos los conceptos curatoriales, la filosofía o las obras en sí. Pero pongámoslo claramente: es difícil vivir como artista. Especialmente en un lugar como Tijuana, que está lejos de las ciudades mas grandes con sus bastantes acumulaciones de capital, los grandes museos y donde viven los curadores más influyentes.
Esta exposición presenta obras de arte que son ejemplares de un nuevo tipo de artista contemporáneo, atrevido y autónomo, que emerge de Tijuana, Mexicali y los espacios marginales de identidad. La ausencia de gobierno y la condición del espacio intersticial de la frontera determinan esta figura artística maravillosamente independiente.
Estos artistas no tienen miedo de mostrar los procesos detrás de las obras de arte y no tienen miedo de colaborar.
Esta figura de artista se ve obligada a – o digamos – tiene la valentía para asumir múltiples roles: creador de arte, curador, galerista, profesor de talleres. Es un acto de equilibrio en el que el artista arriesga su posición frente a las tendencias prevalecientes del arte contemporáneo, que enfatizan el desapego, la abstracción y la distancia. Este riesgo aumenta a medida que el artista negocia condiciones existenciales fluidas y desafiantes.
Vemos los rastros de este riesgo y los rastros de vidas vividas en las obras presentadas aquí de diferentes maneras, algunas más explícitas que otras.
Individual Works [and One Collaboration]
Nuestras manos, 2018. Collaboration between Marisa Raygoza, Tijuana,1978, and Oslyn Whizar, Tijuana, 1977. Diverse materials, variable dimensions.
Comment by Thomas Vann Altheimer:
This work was by far the most challenging of them all in terms of installation. It was incredible to witness how it came together and see Marisa Raygoza and Oslyn Whizar rise to the challenge.
I asked the two TJ contemporary visual artists, if they might give us a glimpse behind the scenes and let us see an open, fragile representation of the raw, emotional, practical and hard work that takes place in their studios. Not only that, I also asked them, if they might collaborate and “mix the raw with the cooked” so to speak. A tall order for the contemporary artist whose character traits are those of stubborn independence and fierce commitment to singular investigations–but despite trepidation on my part the result went far beyond what I had hoped for / imagined. The two artists emptied their studios and merged discarded objects, detritus, soil from various Tijuana wastelands, half-finished sculptural work, stock material, instruments, and containers into one single, magnificent vision – to give us a single moment arrested in time from the chaos of flux and open-ended studio processes.
For me that alone gave me a sense of achievement and hope–a vision of what the future of art might look like. It also helped me to understand what I mean with the suggestion of a’producer’ of contemporary art instead of the more bureaucratic figure of the ‘curator’. The film producer is (or can be) a much more friendly, collaborative figure – a figure that carries less lofty, theoretical notions, who knows when to pull back, and when to offer assistance. Whichever way you engage with the piece – whether you are doing close-up, near-sighted investigation of tiny details or whether you look at it from a distance–it works on all levels.
Talk on Artists from the Future / Charla sobre Artistas del futuro, 13 Dec, 2018.
[Some parts of this talk was later redacted. Due to a hard drive bug presently only a Spanish version exists. Still the text important as a window into a developing art platform in high-stakes circumstances. It is our second public talk some 10-11 months out from the Inaugural Talk at Relaciones Inesperadas. TVA, 13. Nov, 2022]