del blog de CIIS
Omar Pimienta’s "Translation" is on view on the 2nd floor of the CIIS Minna location. The exhibition uses Pimienta’s personal geography, commuting back and forth across the border from Tijuana, Mexico, where he lives, to San Diego, where he works, to explore the transnational, transcultural and trans-lingual experience. Diaristic in both execution and presentation, the collaged photo wall of this experience is particularly moving; Pimienta’s journey is made visible most notably by referencing the culture of cars and movement, as Pimienta is constantly shifting between languages and cultures in his daily trips. Various clues and insights are given by the landscape he navigates, the pervasiveness of US culture evident in the McDonald’s logos and Statue of Liberty figures that populate many of these images. The exertion of these trips, echoed in the quantity of 4 x 6 photographs that cover an entire wall, is striking. Interestingly, the Statue of Liberty figure sprinkled throughout the images is actually Lady Libertad, a sculpture made by Pimienta, that references his Tijuana neighborhood, Colonia Libertad. One of the oldest neighborhoods in Tijuana, and a popular border-crossing site, Colonia Libertad is known for its shops that sell plaster sculptures of popular American figures, fictional and real, from JFK to Cinderella.
Currently, though this industry has dwindled, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most-produced sculptures. In an ironic twist, Lady Libertad is perched upon on a pedestal modeled after pre-Columbian pyramids. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty, apparently had a sketch of a pre-Columbian pedestal that inspired his design for the iconic symbol of American patriotism. Locating these cultural signifiers within this pictorial narrative, their presence at times obscured, while at other times dominant, one is forced to think about their presence in the border landscape, and the ways in which we choose to historicize our monuments, culture, and ourselves—often negating influences (and in this case, certainly, people) that don’t fit into the dominant American cultural paradigm.