The surface forms of the Elegante Crater in Mexico and the Laghouat Crater in Algeria are uncannily similar, although the former was made through a volcanic eruption and the latter caused by meteor impact. These two opposing forces – an ejection from the centre of
the earth and the impact collision of a foreign material – both altered the tissue of the surface, and created the same hole and crown at each respective location.
Working across a variety of mediums including sculpture, installation, photography and video, artists Miguel Fernández de Castro and Lydia Ourahmane both generally address place and landscape, usually the sites of their respective origins; Fernández de Castro the Sonoran Desert in Northern Mexico and Ourahmane the regions surrounding Oran, Algeria. While geographically disparate, both of these arid sites are bound and shaped by complicated economic configurations, geopolitical turmoil, violence and social unrest. To the artists the imprints of these conflicts can be read through the materiality of the land, their impressions present in the dirt, or the water, or the exhausted mine.
In much of their respective practices, experientially being on-site is key, and as such they are both commonly researching in the field, seeking access to difficult sites or moving a material from one location to another, and a translation of this activity is usually present within their exhibitions. In this case, Crater, the collaborative work on display, wasn’t formed by a realised journey that the artists embarked on together, but rather is formed by an interrogation into the process of projecting. The artists ask what is the point in accessing spaces physically if all we have projected upon them already exists? Does the act of witnessing, or being present, only function as an affirmation? As such the gallery itself becomes an enactment of this line of inquiry, and provides a site and surface to reflect upon expectations, experiences, and access or the mutual lack thereof.
*The exhibition is curated by Cory Scozzari.