Mending Wall

2018, 2019
Variable dimensions ± 30 x 36 x 26
Powder coated rebar and black patina on steel 

Inspired by the federally funded border wall prototypes- constructed in 2017 separating San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico- these grappling hooks embrace the practicality of climbing a wall and overcoming borders. Global trade systems, such as NAFTA, influence the exports of crops and directly impacts migration between the United States and Mexico. While the relationship between the two countries have rarely been easy, the border has also allowed for many years of successful bilateral relations. So despite the threat of physical barriers, the two countries are forever entwined. 

The title is a reference to Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall”, which narrates a relationship between two neighbors that meet yearly to repair a wall that divides their property. Linking Frost’s poem with the contemporary issues that these eight grappling hooks bring to light allows discussion of divisive global borders both poetically and politically.

The grappling hooks are made from rebar which is needed in the casting of superior concrete/cement structures and are powder coated colors found in native Mexican corn. The exposed welds and the fabrication methods refer back to the labor that went into building the prototypes.

<This project was realized in 2018 within the Whatnot Studio of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.> <A second set of hooks was made for the VIENNA BIENNALE 2019: Brave new virtues, and they are currently on display at MAK Vienna as part of their Design Lab.>