In My Lands are Islands the form of a simple machine (the wedge/shim) performs its usefulness through allegorical “work.” Here, the wedges are made of a rudimentary clay of coffee grounds, an ingredient that comes out of my family’s history with Puerto Rico’s coffee trade.
These small serial works are exhibited on pedestals made of white glazed brick reminiscent of the material used in condominium construction in NYC during the 1950’s and 60’s. These “pedestals”, while referring to urban architecture, also play with the forms of minimalist sculpture, in essence opening up an intersection between their simplicity as Ur-Object and the heterogeneity of the social/cultural city.
My Lands are Islands is a meditation on histories consisting of conflated temporalities, dealing with issues of colonialism, modernism, minimalism, urbanism and feminism drawn from the artists’ personal history. The coffee-clay is unstable at this scale; the wedge sculptures collapsed and deteriorated over the run of the exhibition. The wedges performed this collapse at a peculiarly stubborn rate; too slow to watch but frustrating to any sense of the permanent or archival. This cycle of binding and breaking apart is an interesting foil to the temporalities of both the ever-changing city and the timelessness central to Minimalism’s grand narrative.