03 Aug

I had the opportunity to interview FLORIAN RADITSCH - Californian artist - on the eve of the opening of his solo show 'Legal Aliens'. This exhibition - curated by Oscarito Sanchez at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Austria in collaboration with the Natural History Museum in Vienna - is in many ways on the razor's edge of the precarious POLITICAL BALANCE between MEXICO and the UNITED STATES.

Hence, the curiosity and the desire to report his testimony in my blog.

Below is my question and Florian's answer faithfully reported as he sent to me, without filters or intervention on my part, to 100% respect the artist's thought.

Which geopolitical issues does your work discuss and how?

The main issues present in my work at this time are those concerning migration, displacement, identity and the environment.

In my current exhibition Legal Aliens, the themes of migration, borders and meteorites come together in an unlikely and subtle narrative.

Legal Aliens - the title is a play on the derogatory media term “illegal aliens” which is still widely used in the media to describe migrants in the US, particularly those coming from central America. The parallel between Meteorites and Migrants is a strategy to discuss a topic from a different angle, as a metaphor. There are many aspects to this, one of which is a certain absurdity that accompanies this comparison, and which I believe is fitting. Meteorites are in a way migrants, they come from far away and end up in a place far from their origin, they are given a national identity and are named after the place in which they have landed.  

Via an installation including two large charcoal drawings depicting Mexican Meteorites, the topic of migration is at the forefront.  A scaled-down version of the US/Mexico border wall acts as a background for the presentation of these "cosmic migrants”.  Many aspects of the aforementioned topics come together in the installation. Architecture, is referenced as a form of repression and political power via the wall, but at the same time as a symbol of identity and nationality through the use of color, (Rosa de Barragán - Pink being a color of hope) as well as the use of other forms alluding to Mexican Architect Luis Barragan and his famous Torres de Satelite, representing the connection between the heavens and the earth.

Alongside the charcoal works of meteorites, four pastel pieces which are architectural in nature immediately greet the viewer.  The pastel drawing Towers/Torres makes specific reference to the aforementioned monument by Luis Barragán.  In a simple composition of blue and green, a face, reminiscent of an Aztec mask appears floating like the face of a god in the sky.  Suspended with this face are also lights or orbs, though if they represent stars, satellites, or perhaps drones, is not specified. However in the context of the exhibition, a flood of references to the other aspects of architecture (repression and control/security) appears.  A great deal of what is considered border security is in fact an enormous amount of surveillance - this ranges from the aforementioned drones to inferred cameras, or game cameras, towers, satellite surveillance, and even blimps as well as others.

Florian Raditsch is an artist from California living and working in Vienna, Austria.

His current exhibition "Legal Aliens" is on view by appointment only at the Instituto Cultural Mexicano in Vienna until the 17th of August, 2020.

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