DeLIMITations: SURVEY OF THE 1821 BORDER BETWEEN MEXICO AND THE UNITED STATES
DAVID TAYLOR & MARCOS RAMÍREZ ERRE
March 14 - May 4, 2019
Rick Wester Fine Art is proud to present the New York debut of DeLIMITations, a project executed by two multi-disciplined artists, David Taylor and Marcos Ramírez ERRE. The two artists - one American and the other Mexican – conceived of DeLIMITations as a survey of the border between their respective countries as it existed in1821. Setting out to mark a boundary that was never physically defined in its entirety, that original demarcation was eliminated following the Mexican-American War in 1848 and cost Mexico more than half its land–500,000 square miles worth.
Taylor, an artist known for his epic documentation of the contemporary Mexico-US border and ERRE, a sculptor and installation artist who’s site specific works have frequently responded to border spaces , began their collaboration in 2014. The project eventually turned into a 3,700-mile journey along the 2,400-mile historic border. The artists revealed its course by placing 47 steel markers, that they fabricated and which were based on the design of the Congressionally mandated 19th century monuments that stand on the contemporary border to this day.
The exhibition will contain the 48 photographs comprising the complete DeLIMITations portfolio; two full scale obelisks; a series of works titled The Missing Roadside History, which mimic the ubiquitous signs designed for tourists; Punto de Vista / Point of View, comprised of three sculptural map pieces that depict the area of land that once was Mexico; and other collaborative works that reference their intervention. The overall intent is to illuminate not only in the history of the original border and its legacy, but also to elucidate their collaborative effort. Believing that today's issues surrounding the border can be clarified and politically decontextualized through art, both artists have long term experience with the borderland areas. Taylor resides in Tucson and is a professor of art at the University of Arizona; Ramírez maintains his studio a short distance from the border and resides in Tijuana. The two traveled in a van especially fitted to transport and to assemble the galvanized steel, markers, and identified with a logo from their invented agency, The Binational Commission of Historical and Geographical Borders. Joining them was Spanish filmmaker José Inerzia who produced a short documentary on the project.
Following 18 months of raising funds and planning, placing the obelisks took the team 32 days in and brought them to numerous locations, where unpredictable interactions were bound to occur. Like their 19th century predecessors, they traversed a vast range of topography. Favoring a guerrilla approach, they consciously did not gather permits or permission to place the obelisks unless they would be located on Native American reservation lands or private property. When engaged with the public, they were rarely turned away, and exchanges often resulted in activating the public in their mission.
David Taylor has been quoted as saying, “You can’t understand the contemporary border unless you understand that there was a border that preceded it” and to which ERRE has added, “From a Mexican point of view, there is a wound. You are taught in school that there is this territory that was lost. But we don’t have a scar from that wound. So that’s the thing for both of us — let’s mark the wound, let’s make the scar." Together they introduce a series of questions about how borders change, and how people interact with national demarcations based on their moment in time and space. While decisions made about a border may seem arbitrary or coincidental based on one's perspective, the outcomes of territorial disputes from nearly two centuries ago continue to have effects that determine life outcomes for millions of people today.
Originally commissioned as an off-site work for Unsettled Landscapes by SITE Santa Fe in 2014, a museum version of DeLIMITations has been exhibited throughout Mexico and the United States at venues that include: MUSA Museo de las Artes Universidad de Guadalajara; Oficina de Proyectos Culturales, Puerto Vallarta; the Mexican Cultural Institute, Washington D.C.; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego
Marcos Ramírez ERRE will have a major solo exhibition at MASS MOCA beginning in July which will be accompanied by a retrospective catalog of his work published by MASS MOCA and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte.
In 2017 RWFA successfully placed the 276 print portfolios of David Taylor’s project Monuments: 276 Views of the United States - Mexico Border in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Library of Congress. It was exhibited at the MFA, Houston in 2017-18 and he was recently awarded a prestigious residency at La Tallera | Proyecto Siqueiros in Cuernavaca, Mexico for the summer of 2019.
DeLIMITations will also be featured in a Project Space at the annual Photography Show, presented by AIPAD at Pier 94 on Manhattan’s West Side. In addition, Marcos Ramírez ERRE and David Taylor will participate in the art fair’s AIPAD Talks, in conversation with Dr. Rebecca Senf, Chief Curator of the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. This is the first showing of the project in New York.
Images and further information available on request.