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Ulterior is pleased to present the second solo exhibition at the gallery of all new work by the artist duo, Camel Collective. Camel Collective is comprised of Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats. Carla Herrera-Prats passed away in December 2019 after a two-year fight against cancer.
To describe this new exhibition, Anthony Graves writes:
One year ago this February Carla and I were discussing the declaration of a state of emergency at the Mexico–US border as ICE and US Border Patrol agents were assigned the tasks of incarcerating people—Q. and babies? A. and babies—fleeing economic injustice and political violence in their home countries. We thought back to a residency we had in Marfa, Texas in 2013 and to some of our research on the joint US and Mexico survey that mapped the line of the post-war border. (The Mexican-American War ended Feb 2, 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo giving the US Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and marking the Rio Bravo [Rio Grande] as the Southern Texas border.) In our research, we had come across Arthur Schott, a botanist and artist, who himself had fled a failed revolution in Germany, and who was hired to map a third of the border. His topographical landscapes intrigued us not only because they were some of the first circulated images of the region, but because of the artistic surplus of stylistic and iconographic material he included in them. Schott populated his foregrounds with botanical and zoological studies using a drawn line that was unmistakably imported from German Romantic landscapes of the time. The drawings went well beyond the mandate of his task to create a workable topography of the region that could be instrumentalized to settle property disputes, dispossess those who fell outside of its logic, and clarify the post-war division of national territory. The US popular imagination, reduced and simplified in right-wing rhetoric, fantasizes a border as a line or a wall, a discrete two-dimensional demarcation that ignores the multidimensionality of the lived experience of thousands who cross it every day for the purposes of labor, family, sustenance…. Love and death haunt this imaginary line, an unreadable graffiti left in traces on the earth, a cyphered line, a guardrail for the wicked or the suffering. The notion of the border as a discrete line is ridiculous, reductive, a violence to thought. It extends not only deep into the geographical territory of a nation-state and its history, but penetrates into our very psyches generating exclusions and exceptions.
Carla and I thought we should take up this subject again, and so we proposed an exhibition to Takako Tanabe at Ulterior, to take place one year after the state of emergency was declared, to think about lines, political boundaries, landscape, imagined territories, lines of flight, history, and, once again, for us, about blindness. The works presented in this exhibition continue our practice of materializing research and examining and speculating on production from a labor perspective, that is, from the perspective of our imprint on materials and the realities, for good and ill, that those marks create.
The exhibition includes a new work in video, two stone border markers and the imaginary line drawn between them connecting a stonecutter’s workshop outside Mexico City and a gallery in New York, a series of prints that link over a hundred-and-fifty years of surveillance and political imagination (or lack thereof), and a series of drawings that connect the geography and temporality of a revolution in Germany (1848) with the landscape of the Northwest Mexico border region, the US Southwest (1857–present).
Camel Collective was formed in 2005 as a research group during a fellowship at the Whitney Independent Study Program. Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats have worked together solely as Camel Collective since 2010. Their works are motivated by research into marginal histories and critical pedagogies, and employ various media and methods including video, sculpture, performance, photography, paintings, and installation. Camel Collective has exhibited and performed at museums and exhibitions including MUAC, Mexico City (2017); REDCAT Gallery, Los Angeles (2015); Trienal de Artes Frestas, Sesc, Sorocaba, Brazil (2015); the Bard Hessel Museum, Annendale-on-Hudson, New York (2014); Casa del Lago, Mexico City (2013); Trienal Poli/Gráfica de San Juan, Puerto Rico (2012); MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts (2011); and Aarhus Kunsthalle, Denmark (2010). Camel Collective has also exhibited works at Artists Space, Art in General, Exit Art, New York, NY; Black Ball Project, Brooklyn, NY; and the Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, Mexico City. Their video Something Other Than What You Are is currently showing as part of Landmarks at UT Austin, TX, and is also on view at ESPAC in Mexico City.
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