David Taylor and Ignacio Evangelista

February 27-April 12
David Taylor: 276 Views of the U.S./Mexico Border
Ignacio Evangelista: After Schengen

This exhibition contrasts two frontier zones. David Taylor has documented the 276 historic monuments that mark the border between Mexico and the United States. In contrast, Ignacio Evangelista shows now-abandoned border crossing points between different states in the European Union. Each border is laden with historical, economic and political significance; the fact that one zone is militarized and the other abandoned speaks to each site’s relative freedom of movement and political implications.

Scen3 review here

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In 2007, Arizona artist David Taylor began photographing the monuments that mark the border between Mexico and the United States. His intent was to document each of the 276 obelisks installed by the International Boundary Commission following the Mexican/American War. The monuments describe the border as it extends west, from El Paso/Juarez to Tijuana/San Diego, through highly populated urban areas and some of the most remote expanses of Chihuahuan and Sonoran desert. They are, in fact, situated in both Mexico and the United States simultaneously.

His contemporary documentation is reflective of a survey conducted by the photographer D.R. Payne between 1891 and 1895 under the auspices of the Boundary Commission (now the International Boundary and Water Commission or IBWC).

Taylor’s series functions as a geographic cross-section of a border in transition. Responses to immigration, narcotrafficking and the imperatives of a post-9/11 security climate prompted more change along the border in the early 2000’s than had occurred since the boundary was established. Thus, the completed project exists as a typology, with the incongruous obelisks acting as witness to a shifting national identity as expressed through an altered physical terrain.

Taylor received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Design/Photography from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Studio Art/Photography from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Taylor’s monograph Working the Line was published by Radius Books in 2010 and has received numerous “best book” and design excellence awards. He resides in Tucson, Arizona, and teaches at the University of Arizona School of Art. Previously, he taught in the Department of Art at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Taylor’s examination of the U.S. Mexico border was supported by a 2008 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

The After Schengen project by Ignacio Evangelista, shows old border crossing points between different states in the European Union. After approval of the Schengen Act of 1995, most of these old checkpoints remain abandoned and out of service, allowing us to gaze into the past from the present.

“Places once filled with people appear abandoned today, located in a space-time limbo, dislocated from the use and the time for which they were conceived. Border crossings have a function of geographical boundaries, but also an coercive role, since they prevent the free passage of people between one and another state. So, they are places that, along with a cartographic dimension, are provided with historical, economic and political reminiscences, aspects absolutely related to landscape from a contemporary and transversal perspective.”

“After Schengen is an optimistic work, critical but optimistic…However, those old familiar voices I heard on the border crossings seem to resonate again in these controversial times. Terms like “strainer” (Marine Le Pen) or “migratory tsunami (Berlusconi) suggest the idea of closing off the doors to the countryside. History sometimes takes unexpected turns.” (Ignacio Evangelista)

Ignacio Evangelista Lives in Spain. He was the winner of CENTER Santa Fe’s 2013 “Project Development Grant.”


Interview here
Witness Journal