Sebastián Mejía | Temporary Relocation | The Bronner Residency

Curator: Katharina Klang
May 30, 2015 - Aug 15, 2015

Sebastián Mejía characterizes his experience during his residency in Tel Aviv, the White City, as tabula rasa. This reorientation in unfamiliar surroundings resembles the beginning of a painting process on white canvas. Every artistic activity begins, much like life away from home, in a childlike, a priori state. Foreign ground must be made accessible and canvas space has to be filled. Mejía applies this metaphor of the white surface to the context of the museum, turning the exhibition room into a blank canvas or terra incognita, where the artist aims to settle. With playful, child-like simplicity, Mejía renders the space accessible. During his performance Whatever You Do, Take Care of Your Teeth II, wearing diapers, he bathes in a pool of white paint, which he then uses to create equally white paintings, and rides a children’s bicycle through a display of white-painted toys. Mejía’s playful instinct restores the potential of the exhibition as a refuge filled with possibilities. At the same time, the dominant presence of whiteness produces uneasiness, connoting imperialistic, Eurocentric outlooks. As in Bruce Nauman’s four Art Make-Up films (1967–68), color applied to the artist’s skin may serve not only an investigation of the artist’s body but also a study of cultural processes which, at the same time, open up political dimensions.

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