Tijuana's urban space seems to be a constant work in progress. Bright squares of super contemporary glass & steel lofts contrast with the soft curving corners of streamline arte moderne style apartments of the 1940s and 50s. And down every alley you can find pieces of old painted wood, plastic pipes, cable, glass, and concrete block.
The artists on exhibit in the new show at TJ in CHINA Project Space pick up the pieces and use them to create art. Reflecting on the title of the show, "The Layered Process as Self Documentation," Tijuana artist Alejandro Zacarías explains that the everyday objects that we encounter or use everyday carry a certain history that links our personal life to the spaces around us. Zacarias creates sculpture out of old pieces of wood, computer hardware, rebar and springs. The juxtaposition of pieces of an old wooden window sill with the plastic top of a flatbed scanner evoke curiosity, nostalgia and the shock of recognition.
TJ in CHINA Project Space is a new gallery and project space started by Mely Barragan and Daniel Ruanova in 2012.Located in downtown Tijuana on the old familiar tourist strip of Avenida Revolución (between 6th & 7th).
But by locating the gallery along the axis Tijuana-China, Barragan and Ruanova break with Tijuana’s old orientation toward the United States. Instead the work on exhibit here will consciously resituate Tijuana within the a wider frame of Asia, Los Angeles, Mexicali, Tecate and Tijuana, an arena of global culture and contemporary art.
The current show follows this mission by bringing together four artists from Tijuana, Tecate, Mexicali and Tokyo. Alejandro Zacarías of Tijuana, Fernando Méndez Corona of Mexicali, Chantal Peñalosa of Tecate and Ichio Irie, a Japanese artist who lives in Los Angeles work with a variety of media including sculpture, collage, painting, and video.
What’s refreshing about Barragan and Ruanova’s project is that they hope to illuminate new cultural forms and practices by linking Tijuana with other artists in places experiencing the same conditions of rapid change as Tijuana.
And that's what art can do: In the chaotic present of Tijuana, artists can help us make sense of this strange new world.
Show opens Friday, August 1 and goes through September 14 at TJ in CHINA Project Space. Exhibit and music from 6-10 PM. Performance of electronic music by Elephant Woman at 9 PM. Free.
TJ in CHINA Gallery is located in Downtown Tijuana on Av. Revolución between 6th and 7th St. Gallery is open on weekends. For more information on hours and exhibits, follow TJ in CHINA on Facebook.