Flaws in negotiation with non-cohesive sand

María José Crespo

In Residence: Sep 26 – Nov 21, 2022

Exhibition: Nov 17, 2022 – Jan 8, 2023

María José Crespo has created an environment that layers human presence, land and water politics, and an ever-changing territory into a border poem. Specifically, her exhibition, Flaws in negotiation with non-cohesive sand, references the US – Mexico border and how it functions and adapts through time, space and materiality. 

The gallery installation presents a landscape with a relationship of lights and reflections between the works. The voluminous sculptural works of steel, plaster, wood, and glass pay tribute to infrastructure and excess of materials visible along the border due to years of human construction and interaction. The video projection replicates informal communication through reflected light across a large landscape as a dancing flicker. The collage mural combines maps, treaties, photographs, documents, and artistic research strategies to create an alternative narrative of history. 

While many of the materials in Crespo’s works are recognizable, such as the car window from which viewers could view a landscape, the steel pipes that extend from Artpace’s architectural construction, or the formal practices of painting, collage and film, the artist now employs methodologies for collecting elements as found objects. From Mexico, the artist has recently begun to work internationally and thus her border materializes through “web-scraping” and visits to archives instead of site visits. Her sourced materials include historical photographs and documents, yet they also document distance through the blurred yellow tape or a light reflection from archive reading room settings. Likewise, bar codes, google maps, and even border security chats are among the poetic details in Crespo’s art. 


María José Crespo

Tijuana Baja California, Mexico / Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Crespo’s work researches how the porous space between territory, language, limits, and body can be
understood by extending their relations as gestures. By questioning the way in which she inhabits certain
boundaries, she is interested in studying their remains, glimpses and the traces that administrative powers leave in territories without clear definition. Crespo earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California. She co-founded Periférica (2014) a platform dedicated to the production and distribution of content related to visual arts in Tijuana, and has been program coordinator of Cine Tonalá Tijuana (2018 – 2020). She has been awarded grants in the program “Jóvenes Creadores” from the National Endowment of Arts and Culture of Mexico (FONCA) (2018 and 2020), and a fellow in PECDA BC program (2019), all in the area of “Alternative Media and Performance”. Currently she is finishing her MFA at Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam receiving study grants by Van Beek Donner and Jumex Foundation. Recently she was awarded the acquisition prize at the XXIII Bienal de Baja California and a residency at The European Alliance of Academies /Akademie Der Künste Berlin.

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Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy

Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy (MX) started her tenure as Director at Kunstinstituut Melly (formerly known as Witte de With) in January 2018, after being the curator of contemporary art at Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in Caracas and New York from 2011 to 2017. In 2016-2017, she was also guest curator at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York. In 2013, Sofía was artistic director and chief curator of the 9a Bienal do Mercosul | Porto Alegre in Brazil, and before that, she was an agent of dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel. In the past, Sofía has been director of Museo Tamayo in Mexico City and held curatorial positions in New York at Art in General and Americas Society. She is also a board member of Council in Paris and of Creative Time in New York. 

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