My first solo exhibition, Trace Path, will open at periscope – initiative für kunst- und zeitgenoss_innen, sterneckstraße 10, 5020 salzburg – austria on October 17. The exhibition runs through November 9, 2019.
“Border fortification” is a term used to describe man-made walls, fences, and other barriers which are built to keep certain people in or out of a defined area. A feature of some border fortifications is a “trace road,” a path between two walls or fences that is made of fine, sandy material. Instead of serving the normal purpose of a road, the trace road is intended to reveal footprints and show whether anyone has crossed it. Trace Path, the upcoming solo exhibition by Kika Jonsson at periscope project space, examines the means and materials humans use to define (and purportedly safeguard) their borders.
Kika Jonsson uses the concept of a trace road to create an installation on natural and man-made borders, while also referencing Salzburg’s geographic and historic position as a border city. Using the imagery of the famous Alps, the exhibition centers on a massive (150 x 210 cm) graphite on paper drawing of a bucolic and cliched mountain peak, contrasted with small drawings of different border installations around the world. The drawings work in dialog with a sculptural piece of steel construction material, and with a sandy trace path arranged in the space.
The installation is made of hard and soft materials, the basic construction elements of metal, paper, and sand. The physicality of the structural element – a latticework of metal used to reinforce concrete – is precariously attached to the wall, a barrier that is a visual reminder of the two sides of each border. The freedom to cross from one side of a border to the other is referenced in the series of drawings of different borders (both natural and man-made), which are 4.5 x 3.5 centimeter sized – exactly the same dimensions as required for an EU passport photo.
Trace Path questions the contradictions inherent to border fortifications, while placing them on a continuum with natural borders. Borders and border fortifications are ancient markers of human settlements. Whether choosing to build in an area surrounded by mountains, or to construct a fortress next to a body of water, humankind has always sought to keep itself safe and secure through the use of walls, fences, and natural landscape features like mountains and rivers. The installation Trace Path examines this urge, and reminds us that now in 2019, we don’t know what a border is.