MOVING IN THE BORDERLANDS
idyllwild arts foundation
October 2022-November 2022
Erika Harrsch: Moving in the Borderlands investigates the artist’s work in the context of the border and issues of migration, immigration, and their various impacts on people, the land, and culture. Harrsch’s work will redress the notion of connectivity threading together works the artist has created over time, giving space to both the narrative frameworks of each work as well as how they sit together to form a meta narrative.
Entering the exhibition, you encounter United States of North America Passport; an installation which compresses the viewer into a passport office. However, in this passport office Harrsch interrogates the arbitrary borders between the Canada and the United States, the United States and Mexico – expanding the territories into an imagined United States of North America. In this, Harrsch calls into question the North American Free Trade Agreement – which allows for the transport of goods across national lines – privileges, however, not afforded to people.
Dissecting the exhibition into two halves is a fiber installation, Shrouded Sky, that simulates the bifurcation of the border wall. This work, made in collaboration with students from Idyllwild Arts Academy illustrates the ominous imposition of the wall as well as illuminates its porosity. The work, while approaching it, looms over the viewer, stained with oxide colored paint – however, upon moving closer – glimpses of sky and light emerge – inviting the viewer to pass through the wall and emerge on the other side to discover Eros Thanatos and Currency Butterflies – two installations hinged on the monarch butterfly and its intrepid migration between Canada and México.
The exhibition looks at hospitality; what that means and how it means in the context of transnational movement, knowledge systems, cultural identity, community, and separation through the intersection of civilizations. Harrsch confronts issues effecting and affecting people in the current age, histories that have informed these narratives, and looks for connection points and gateways of understanding.