Carlos Quijon Jr. on Daniel García Andújar
Traversing the vastness of the Mediterranean as each historic and imaginary, Daniel García Andújar’s solo exhibition “Patente de Corso” (Letter of Marque) provided a disconcerting account of how the ocean has been a locus for expulsions and migrations all through European historical past. In works starting from installations and movies to archival shows and a presentation of historic work, we noticed how mare nostrum has been witness to the “naked life”—to borrow a phrase from Italian thinker Giorgio Agamben—of migrants and refugees.
Occupying everything of a stark crimson wall in the midst of the exhibition, Mediterraneum. Atlas. Puertos (Mediterraneum. Atlas. Ports), 2022, offered a set of 163 “robotic drawings” that hint onto previous maps the potential mixture of routes that had been taken by migrants over time to succeed in the assorted ports and harbors that rim its coasts. A dry and mechanical rendering enhances the frenzied tangle of trails of Migrantes desaparecidos registrados en el Mediterráneo desde 2014 (Lacking Migrants Recorded within the Mediterranean Since 2014), additionally 2022, which stuffed an adjoining wall with a sprawl of drawings that tabulate the full variety of migrants who failed of their makes an attempt to cross the ocean: an ongoing rely of lifeless or undiscovered our bodies. Andújar’s therapy of those circumstances transforms the unspeakable destiny that migrants face into unfeeling maps and metrics. The chilly calculation of human life and expertise into the info units comprising these two works renders the occasions surrounding them commonplace.
From this data-driven factuality, the exhibition proceeded to interrogate the highly effective maintain of the Mediterranean on the European creativeness, alluding not simply to modern political debates but in addition to how the ocean has been used to allegorize the brink past which lies the opposite. Within the two seventeenth-century oil-on-canvas work by Vicent Mestre that greeted guests on the exhibition entrance, we adopted the destiny of the Moriscos (Muslim descendants compelled to transform to Christianity) as they have been expelled from Spain and despatched to sea (Embarque de los moriscos en el puerto de Denia [Moriscos Embarking at the Port of Denia], 1612–13). Their boats ultimately crowded the shore of Oran in northwestern Algeria (Desembarco de los moriscos en el puerto de Orán [Moriscos Landing at the Port of Oran], 1612–13), the place most of them reportedly have been robbed or killed. In each work, the ocean symbolizes the unknowable: a method of obscuring one’s origins in addition to a passage past the canvas, the place the lifetime of the Moriscos is forged previous historic reminiscence.
Juguete de los hados (Compelled by the Fates), 2022, a video of a refugee boat with a caged statue of Poseidon aboard it, compellingly rounded out Andújar’s marine mythopoetics. Yoking the mythic and the modern, the projection was accompanied within the exhibition area by the precise boat, displayed as if overturned, and the life-size imprisoned god. The vastness of the ocean is without delay the heritage of a wealthy tradition and an oppressive inhospitality that has refused humanity to numerous folks deemed different.