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You can't leave fingerprints on stone

Cristina Mejías

17.07.20 - 23.10.20

The Blueproject Foundation presents the exhibition You Can't Leave Fingerprints on Stone by Cristina Mejías, the second resident artist of 2020, which can be seen in the Sala Project space from July 17 to October 23, 2020.

“Let us get into the sand. And let us do so with soiled feet. Let us battle and mix the earth to discover ourselves dirty. And dirty is good. Because that which is aseptic only hides what is magic under doormats. And a handful of short stories, woven from experience, will tell us all those stories that History, written with a capital H, does not tell us. We have become accustomed to preconceiving the academic world as the legitimate container and transmitter of knowledge. But here it is not enough to simply dry a leaf and store it in a herbarium, because a living plant is bitten by the air, and it is important that this happens.
This project has been made possible thanks to the generous collaboration and company of Efthimis Theou: archaeologist, performer and agitator of stories. And to the island of Gavdos, which welcomed us one summer and since then we have returned, without returning, a thousand times.”
Note from the artist, Cristina Mejías


An object that cannot be solidified, neither in its form nor in history. Towards the mid-20th century, British archaeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler began a revolution in the world of archaeology by replacing the strip method and arbitrary excavation with stratigraphic excavation and the grid system. The so-called Wheeler method divides the territory of the site by means of a series of small square holes between which earth walls or balks are left that preserve the stratigraphic profile of the different areas of the site. With its use, science began to try to impose the method of reason on the temporary chaos of history and memory.
Around 2015 in Berlin, Cristina Mejías met Efthimis Theou, a performer and archaeologist and one of the people in charge of the Katalymata excavation on the Greek island of Gavdos, a place that according to different stories is identified with the mythical island of Ogygia, where the nymph Calypso—“the one who conceals”—detained Ulysses on his journey back to Ithaca.
Gavdos, located south of the island of Crete, is the southernmost point in Europe, a place inhabited since the Neolithic period that houses archaeological evidence from the Bronze Age to the Minoan civilization, passing through classical and Hellenistic Greece, the Roman settlements and a fortification that could possibly belong to the Venetian period. “When walking on the beach with Efthimis, we came across stone fragments that possibly date 4,000 years apart from each other and that now inhabit the same space and time. I’d pick them up, hold them in my hands and then Efthimis would say to me: ‘Now, leave them in the sand.’”
You Can’t Leave Fingerprints on Stone collects a series of pieces created by Cristina Mejías (Jerez de la Frontera, 1986) between 2018 to 2020 in which she uses the lived memory of her experience on the island of Gavdos, as well as its relationship with the context of archaeology, to traverse through the ways and gestures with which artistic production approaches the construction of history and memory.
From the very presence of the island’s landscape, abstracted in the different sculptural elements that appear in the exhibition, to the video installations that focus on the practice of archaeology itself and the oral history that shapes the island’s myths and legends, You Can’t Leave Fingerprints on Stone is set out as a projection of what was the “then-there” and is not the “here-now”, the speculative future utopia of what is yet to come and, as in Mark Fisher’s writings, takes on the form of a spectre haunting our own past.
In From Things to Flows, the landscape of Gavdos, the sand on the beach, the darkness of the night and the ceramic objects—formed from local clay and with different firing processes as witnesses—are projected into a time that is none other than that of memory and memories. A construction in transformation, impossible to solidify, that like the yellow and copper arc is projected into another time, a possible future.
Conceived as a dialogue, An Other History is presented as a two-channel installation in which both screens are anthropomorphised so as to give voice and become channels through which the various modes of approaching history and memory circulate, from the objectivity of science to the oral transmission of the myths and legends that spread around the island, as a reflection of the processes that build our experience of the real. Whereas You Can’t Leave a Fingerprint on Stone (2020), the piece that gives the exhibition its name, subverts the documentary essay format to approach the work of archaeologists based on the gestures that invite us to make history performative.


Text by Jesús Alcaide

Cristina Mejías (Jerez de la Frontera, 1986) has a degree in Fine Arts from UEM (Madrid) and NCAD (Dublin) and a Master’s in Research in Art and Creation from UCM (Madrid). Her work has recently been exhibited both individually and collectively in La Casa Encendida (Madrid), SCAN Projects (London), Centro Párraga (Murcia), Centro C3A (Córdoba), The Goma (Madrid), José de la Fuente (Santander), MACZUL (Maracaibo, Venezuela), Sant Andreu Ccontemporani (Barcelona), Javier Silva (Valladolid), Santa Inés (Seville), Fundación Mendoza (Caracas, Venezuela), El Ranchito ARCO Lisboa at Matadero Madrid and Galerias Municipais (Lisbon), Artothèque (Bordeaux, France), TEA (Tenerife), LABoral (Gijón), Fundación Cajasol (Seville), Cultural Centre of Spain / AECID (Rosario, Argentina / Concepción, Chile / Lima, Peru), CAAC (Seville) and CentroCentro (Madrid), among others. In recent months she completed a research and production residency funded by an international grant in Tabakalera (Donostia), C3A (Córdoba) and Hangar Lisboa. She has recently obtained many awards as well as residency and production grants: from the Blueproject Foundation (Barcelona), Generación 2020 (Madrid), VEGAP XXIII, Community of Madrid award Estampa 2019, residency grant Comunidad de Madrid, Iniciarte award, residency and production grant Matadero Ranchito Arco Lisboa, residency and production grant Correspondencias de Ultramar in Caracas and Maracaibo (AECID / Spanish Embassy in Venezuela), Premio Creación Injuve 2017, XIX Luis Adelantado CALL, and XXVI Circuitos de Artes Plásticas.

You can't leave fingerprints on stone

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