by Aline Smithson
26 DECEMBER 2019
“I lost my sense of home,” Franco Klein says of her life lived between Mexico City, California and London.
Recently I had the great pleasure of attending an exhibition walk-through with Mexican artist Tania Franco Klein of her solo show, Proceed to the Route at the Rose Gallery in Santa Monica. Tania is a compelling story teller and provided an engaging narration and perspective of work that takes the viewer through a cinematic journey of internal and external road trips.
Presented like a set of film stills, the exhibition allows the viewer to create their own navigation of these psychological tableaux, shimming with brilliant mid-century colors and shafts of light that illuminate small novelas. The photographs examine self in the digital age, considering the insidious nature of technology keeping us on course and the performative stresses that come from living life online. There is a sense of searching in these film-noir tales, filled will desire to live different lives, to discover new incarnations, and most importantly, to get lost. Proceed to the Route aptly describes not only work that has veered off course, but a unique presentation of framed and unframed work, sometimes overlapping, and hung at different levels, that has a landscape all it’s own.
The exhibition runs until January 18th, 2020. Tania also has a new monograph, Positive Disintegration, published by Editions Bessard.
I am lost. But my map seems to know where I am going.
But am I lost? Is being lost even possible in this place that knows it all?
I want to stop. But she insists; Proceed to the route. Proceed to the route.
Somewhere in between the outskirts and progress.
Between the mountains and the signs.
Where the landscape turns gray and leaving becomes the most obvious possibility.
I forgot how to be lost. I live in that time where disappearing means putting an airplane sign on the screen.
I insist. I want to walk the road without knowing. I want to get lost. I finally have the courage to press the break. I get down from my car and leave her behind. She can’t stop being herself though. As I walk far I can hear her still saying. Proceed to the route
The map as a representation of the territory, and the internet as a representation of life.
Proceed To The Route takes its name from the popular quote which starts every journey in Google Maps and which appears as a reminder every time a wrong turn is done.
The roads and freeways once shaped the paths of progress. Today, those roads are mostly visited by passengers who rarely know where they are going but flow at a fast pace without stopping. Having access to the knowledge to go anywhere, and still knowing nothing. Progress has overpassed us, leaving a state of nothingness and confusion in our eclectic-overconnected reality in which history runs faster than the seconds on the clock.
It is in the emptiness of the countryside that one can situate an encounter of an old lifestyle that still waits for its abandonment and containment, reflecting the new growth of a central capitalist system.
The drifters and travelers, all passing through some state of nothingness, that share private moments in public spaces, are a clear example of the ephemeral, crowded, and at the same time almost empty, leftovers of contemporary cities.
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