23 February – 4 May 2019
Lara Almarcegui, Rossella Biscotti, Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan, Willie Doherty, Núria Güell, Ruth E Lyons, Amalia Pica, Khvay Samnang, Santiago Sierra, Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor
Borderlines is a group exhibition that gives form to the conceptual, geo-political, economic and cultural impacts of borders. It draws attention to the ownership of the earth beneath our feet, underwater realms, the rules governing the international movement of goods, nation-states, the UK border in Ireland, financial sovereignty, tribal territories, anarchic polar exploration and the world-wide distribution of natural resources. Conceived to coincide with the UK’s scheduled exit from the EU, Borderlines offers imaginative ways of representing and thinking about frontiers, at a time when very real borders between the UK and Europe are being proposed.
Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan have three works in the exhibition. 'Monument to Another Man’s Fatherland' reflects on the story of the Pergamon Altar. It contextualises the extraordinary frieze (now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin), with the plight of Turkish migrants hoping to enter the EU, just as the repatriation of the Parthenon (Elgin) marbles reappear in public debate as a result of the Brexit negotiations. Another work features blocks of sugar shown alongside the complex story of the artists’ attempt to trace European sugar exported to Africa and then evade trade tariffs by re-importing it back to Europe as an artistic ‘monument’. The third film work, particularly poignant in the context of the Brexit campaign’s close alignment with the UK fisheries, charts the rise and fall of the Urk (Dutch) fishing community after the inland sea they traditionally fished was dammed to create land for development. Lara Almarcegui explores the ownership of the mineral rights under the cities she works in, unearthing how the land beneath our feet is governed, while Rossella Biscotti’s research, into the implications of her tipping a huge slab of marble overboard into international waters, creates a layered picture of the different frontiers of the sea, demarcated by sunken relics, magnetic fields, distress calls, marine life, oil pipes and national boundaries. A more ancient sea is evoked in the salt bowls made by Ruth E Lyons, which are all carved from salt mined from a deposit that dates back millions of years to the Zechstein Sea; this salt deposit stretches from Ireland to Poland, impervious to the nation-states now crowding the top soil. Willie Doherty reflects on the border where Ireland and Northern Ireland meet, between Derry and Donegal, meditating on the dramatic impact that Brexit might have on otherwise unremarkable points on the road, haunted by memories of the militarised border in place before the Good Friday Agreement. Núria Güell presents a consultancy that offered citizens of the PIIGS nations (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain), bailed out by the European Commission, Central Bank and IMF, the opportunity to perform fiscal disobedience based on the tax avoidance schemes used by the super-rich, commenting on debt, obedience and control within the EU. Amalia Pica makes images from the stamps she has collected as she encountered the bureaucracy surrounding international mobility and citizenship acquisition, while Khvay Samnang interprets his understanding of the Chong people’s embodied knowledge of the land and its regions, recreating movements through collaboration with a dancer used to define tribal territories in Cambodia. Mona Vatamanu & Florin Tudor show the globe as a patchwork of dominant resources – industries, minerals or labour – and finally, Santiago Sierra places the anarchist flag at the North and South Poles.
Supported by Creative Scotland, the Mondriaan Fund and Edinburgh College of Art.