Queen’s Nails Projects presents Border Alchemies, Fiamma Montezemolo’s first solo exhibition in San Francisco. Working on various media (video, light boxes, objects and sound), Montezemolo is presenting Border Alchemies as one large-scale installation. Using as a departure point the principles of alchemy, the installation seeks to deconstruct racialized iconographies of national identity and exclusion—such as the border fence between the United States and Mexico and traditional territorial world and space mapping—and transforms them into new symbolic compounds that contradict the opposition between national and foreign, self and other. Her artistic practice is informed by an inter-disciplinary and cross-genre approach, with an acute focus on cross-cultural referents. The trans-disciplinary aspects of Montezemolo’s work are better understood if we take into account her academic background in anthropology and ethnography. Still working with the same theoretical and methodological models, her art practice never feels academic. Through the language of post-minimalism her work is a reflection on borderlands and border zones, both on specific geopolitical levels, as well as in more introspective and experiential ones.
Born in Rome, Fiamma Montezemolo is both a Cultural Anthropologist (Ph.D, University Orientale of Naples) and a visual artist (MFA, SFAI). She is currently teaching at UC Berkeley (Art Practice) and California College of the Arts (Critical Studies). She is the co-author of “Here is Tijuana” (Blackdog Publishing 2006) with Rene’ Peralta and Heriberto Yepez. She is co-editing with Josh Kun the book “Tijuana dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border” for Duke Press University (2012). As an established scholar in border and urban studies, she has patiently designed rigorous and long-term ethnographic-artistic interventions at the Tijuana-San Diego border where she has also resided and taught for many years. Currently she is based in San Francisco, CA.