Judi Werthein: Brinco In the “On Mobility” international exhibition series

Judi Werthein: Brinco
In the “On Mobility” international exhibition series

Opening:  4 May 2006

On view: 3 June 2006


The act of crossing the border from Mexico into the US is known as “brinco”, jump in Spanish. Judi Werthein’s ‘crossing trainers’ prepare illegal migrants for this journey. The shoes include useful items such as a compass and a torch as many cross at night. Inside are painkillers as many suffer aches and injuries during the journey, pockets for money and the insole features a map of the most popular boarder crossing points for illegal immigrants between Tijuana and San Diego. They might walk for eight-hour stretches so the Brinco is a little boot to provide support and protection from snakes, tarantulas and stones. Embroidered on the heel is an image of Santo Toribo Romo, the official saint of the Mexican migrants, and on the front of the toe in the direction of their dreams is the American eagle. To comment on the contradictions between fashion, manufacture competition, migration and labour flow, Werthein’s sneakers will be sold as unique art objects as well as being freely distributed amongst would-be illegal immigrants at the border.

On Mobility

“On Mobility” is a result of a collaborative effort of 4 European institutions (De Appel, Amsterdam; BüroFriedrich, Berlin; CAC Vilnius and the Trafó Gallery/Stúdió Gallery/Menü Pont, Budapest) and manifested in a serie of “relay-exhibitions”.
With the exhibition of a mutating group of artists we want to explore the tension between the nomadic existence of artists and the mobility of groups of people who do not move by their own choice.
Forced migration and subsequent state-inspired forms of integration which large amounts of world citizens are experiencing are at odds with the lives and liberties of the privileged. i.e. also artists, who enjoy a global world in which they are free to move around.
Yet many of these artists are pre-occupied with their fellow men: and in their works migration and mobility, assimilation and translation, are key issues today. Alongside cinematic and documentary approaches the essentially visual discipline of contemporary artists seems even to be a “conditio sine qua non” to analyse and deconstruct the complex imagery and semantics concerned.

The activities
The project exists of five relay-exhibitions:

1.The first exhibition was at De Appel in Amsterdam. De Appel invited eight artists to make a work, or show an existing work, related to the theme ‘On Mobility’.
The exhibition started 26 August 2005, and was on view for four weeks.

2.The second exhibition, organised by BüroFriedrich in Berlin, consisted of four artists out of the first show, and the curator added another four artists to the show, related to the local context and focusing on the theme. The exhibition started in November 2005, for six weeks.

3.The third exhibition was organized by the co-organiser, CAC in Vilnius. The director selected four artists out of the first two shows and added another four from his/her own context and realize a specific show. The exhibition started in February 2006, and be on view for six weeks.

4.The fourth show, organised by Trafó – House of Contemporary art and Stúdió Galéria in Budapest, will select four artists of the first three shows, and they will add another four artists to the show. The exhibition will start in 4th ofMay 2006.

5.The last show will be at De Appel in Amsterdam again, but now showing a completely different group of artists (non of the initial artists appear again). The 12 ‘new’ artists shown in the last exhibition are all selected by the co-organisers. The exhibition will start in June 2006, for six weeks.

A bilingual catalogue with all 20 artists’ projects will appear at the start of the last episode,
in June 2006.

Participating artists till now:
Andrew Miksys
Sean Snyder
Judi Werthein
Patricija Jurkšaityte
Bik Van der Pol
Alicia Framis
Castro / Ólafsson
Marjetica Potrč
Nasrin Tabatabai
Yona Friedman
Xu Zhen
Tomas Saraceno
Patrick Tuttofuoco
Tiong Ang
Banu Cennetoglu

More details: www.onmobility.net