Points of Departure (Between Spain and France)
April 14 – June 28, 2014
Reception: Saturday, May 17 from 6 – 9pm
As part of 18th Street Arts Center’s core program, the Artist Labs series, Spanish-born, Los Angeles-based artist Patricia Fernández further develops her explorations of the geographic history that underpins generations of displacement and repression in Spain beginning with Franco’s dictatorship. In her project Points of Departure (Between Spain and France), Fernández investigates narratives from her land of origin through a series of walks over the Pyrenees.
Points of Departure (Between Spain and France) encompasses a series of walks, an archive, objects, and paintings. Fernández’s project began in 2012 with an initial walk over the mountain range of the Pyrenees, the border from Spain into France, following Jose Garcia Cinca in the footsteps of the thousands of Spanish Republicans that crossed the same border during the mass exodus after the Spanish Civil War called La Retirada (1939). In an attempt to retrace personal histories through the process of reading the landscape, Fernández began to rewrite and reconstruct narrative from this point of entry, as she experienced both this metaphorical and historical boundary line. Taking Pierre Nora’s idea of the historian as “vehicle of transmission,” Fernández attempts to weave together a dynamic account of history through a series of paintings, objects and texts that re-present the sites and the persons that passed through them. Through this process of re-performing a path in history, Fernández began to build not only her story but also Jose’s, which is bound to the stories of the many others who walked.
At 18th Street, Fernández will use the Artist Lab as a working studio where she will continue to index the collection of objects based on her walks over the Pyrenees and translate writings from Spanish into English. The material ephemera and the oral histories that construct her narrative will be presented in an immersive installation, as a reconstruction of a space resembling the municipal archives of Bordeaux. Fernández will present a collection of reconstructed and found objects informed by the individual stories of Republican exiles that fled Spain during the mass exodus in 1939 and first-hand accounts of those that remained during Franco’s 36 year dictatorship. She will weave together the history of the permanent exiles and Spanish Republicans that fled to France through an archive fabricated from individual exiles’ memories standing in for the missing archives taken by the State during the Vichy regime. Finding gaps in time and information, Fernández will recreate the archives from recollections of the Spanish exiles who have shared lived experiences and recalled memories of their journeys over the Pyrenees with her. Fernández will engage in weekly performative lectures on the various subjects that build this archive, expanding her artistic investigations of these stories from objects to oral histories and thereby developing an emerging sphere of its expression through language and performance.
Patricia Fernández’s Artist Lab Residency at 18th Street Arts Center and all associated events have been made possible through the generous support of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.