Untitled (Chosen homeland), 2016. Double sided print on fabric, flag pole. 27.5 x 50 x 63 inches
In this piece I appropriate the use of flags as symbols of national identity by replacing that signifier with a photograph from my own family archive. I made this piece while attending school in the US. My experience of inadequacy and displacement led me to question the distinction between a given and chosen homeland. Flags, as simple symbols that are instantly recognizable, not only represent large groups of individuals, they also have the power to claim land, creating a tiny piece of country wherever they are planted. In contrast, my flag is an image of the sea, understanding the sea as opposite to land. The sea is a starting point, a possibility, where solid ground ends. With this flag, I do not claim land, nor even water. I pay tribute to this fluid representation of the homeland I choose to have, claiming the importance of my relationship to the Mediterranean Sea growing up, and its consequent history in the construction of my identity. Rather than a statement of patriotism or pride for one’s country, this project emphasizes the malleable meaning of Patria, and chooses to fill that symbol with a personal definition of it.
Posibilidad de cielo I, II, 2020. Collage on paper. 19,5 x 27,5 inches
For these pieces, I gathered several photographs from my family albums in which the sky was present as a backdrop of my family's daily life under the Franco dictatorship from 1939-1975. Editing out all other subjects, these pieces of sky are brought to the foreground, revealing a nuanced and ever changing gradient, ranging from pitch-black nocturnal skies to days of clear blue skies (even if they appear monochromatic here), planes drawing their paths, and a wide variety of clouds' textures.
Pasted together, these fragments comprise a utopian and (im)possible representation of the sky. Through these works, I propose that the sum of the parts is never enough to get the totality of the experiences these skies hold, but they do create another possible sky. By exposing my manipulation of these fragments, these pieces acknowledge that the ultimate rectangle exists in relation to everything else left out. This act highlights an absence, the history withheld by each of these crop-outs, the moments when we don’t have the rest of the picture to grasp the image’s idiosyncratic moment or context.
P-E-R-S-I-S-T-E-N-C-E, 2016. LetraSet (Dry transfer lettering sheet). 4 x 7 inches
Made the day after the presidential election in November 2016, this piece is the record of a very subtle but determined gesture, manipulating it to create a new work. At first sight, the sheet has a standardized appearance of a generic typeface that is almost entirely used up. Burnishing the pressure-sensitive adhesive on the backing side up with a pencil, the whole alphabet was removed. Eleven letters were then meticulously re-transferred onto the sheet, randomly spread all over the surface, counter to the usual alphabetical order found in these sheets. At first glance, the piece appears to be similar to a unresolved crossword, but the resolution is found in its title: P-E-R-S-I-S-T-E-N-C-E.
Possibility of a Group Portrait, 2016. Digital printing on paper mounted on carboard. 14,5 x 19,5 inches
Exploration of deconstruction's potential in portraiture as a signifier of the multiple ways of looking at a thing. A group of adolescents casually pose while sitting on a bench. Some of them look distracted, focusing on the other kids in the shot, while others look directly into the eye of the photographer in front of them. This direct gaze transforms the viewer from distanced observer to the role of the spectator, not visible in the frame but part of the scene nevertheless. Borrowing the precise framing and sequencing of a photo booth image, I deconstructed this image to later reassemble it by pieces. This fragmentation creates an analytic gaze that annuls the sense of camaraderie floating in the air, typical of those “boys’ clubs” that are so common in schools, but which often seems illusory or repressive. Replacing the unbroken picture of idyllic childhood, I assemble a new image that consists of fragments, black gaps, and repetition.
Stills from Secondary Characters, 2017. Slides and projector. Variable dimensions
Manipulating a series of snapshots of my family’s summer vacations in the Spanish Mediterranean coast during 1950’s and 1960’s, the story’s parameters are re-situated by cropping out the intended subject of the photograph, be it my father as a baby making sand castles or my grandmother sun-bathing, in favor of emphasizing everything seemingly anecdotal occurring in the background. This simple but radical re-framing transforms a secondary character into the protagonist. These altered images were then converted into slide projects and performed as a re-enactment of a family vacation slide-show. Its steady sequence of single images, reinforced by an even visual and aural rhythm, articulated and validated a whole new possible narrative. Exposing my manipulation of the expansion and contraction of time, I left slots between slides empty, repeated some slides, and played with the transition times and focus of the images. Blurring the lines between factual and fictional memory, this piece challenges the audience’s memory and capacity to engage with simulations of that which we take for the real thing. The people in these images are no-one, but they are the protagonists.