April 15, 2014

Patricia Fernández: Points of Departure (between Spain and France)

18th Street Arts Center
Patricia Fernández, Points of Departure (between Spain and France), 2012–ongoing. Reconstructed archive, dimensions variable. Photo courtesy of the artist.

As part of 18th Street Arts Center’score program, the Artist Lab residency, 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.

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 and French 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 firsthand 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 recreates the archives from oral storytelling of the Spanish exiles who shared lived experiences and recalled memories of their journeys over the Pyrenees. 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 is a recipient of the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant. In 2012, she was included in the Los Angeles-area biennial, Made in LA, and selected to take part in the FLARE program (French Los Angeles Residency Exchange granted by the City of Los Angeles), which is when the retracing walks over the Pyrenees for Points of Departure (between Spain and France) began. Her solo exhibition, Paseo de los Melancólicos, opened this month at LAXART. Her work has been included in exhibitions at CUE Art Foundation, New York; ltd los angeles; Clifton Benevento Gallery, New York; and Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles. She has received fellowships and awards from the Center for Cultural Innovation and the California Community Foundation. Additionally, Fernández participated in the Fondazione Antonio Ratti CSAV program (with Matt Mullican) in 2013. Fernández earned an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, an MA from Pacific Oaks College, and a BFA from UCLA.

18th Street Arts Center is the largest continuous artist residency program in Southern California. Its core gallery program, Artist Labs, stimulates public dialogue around the role of artists in society through process-based, commissioned projects intending to foster exploration and experimentation and provide in-depth opportunities for artists to critically develop their practice. Structured as both a residency and an exhibition, individual artists or collectives develop new work and generate provocative programming.

This program has been made possible with funding by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and Andy Warhol Foundation.


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