robert henry contemporary, Brooklyn
Mexican artist Pancho Westendarp's drawings, photographs, videos and sculpture seek to analyze relationships between space, time, memory and movement. Humans inherently add or attach meanings and identities to unfamiliar places to help them understand it, navigate it and eventually to have a sense of ownership and control of it. Westendarp contends that, “this idea of ownership of a place by claiming it as a territory is an illusion...” and that this type of contractual ownership is not a true ownership at all. To truly own a space, Westendarp says, “To become part of a place, means to be part of the natural system inherent to that place.”Westendarp’s work subverts societal constructions of time by reformulating conventional time representations in ways that don’t standardize human experience under the same circumstances. He says,
“Developing our own way of measuring time means creating our own notion of history and developing new rituals where time can be practical and playful, where faith and mechanics can interact, where procedures can become purposeless and where movement is not understood by distance traveled but by the change of a state of mind.”For Westendarp, memory is not a file of recollections but a series of events from our past that relate to each other and that can help us to understand our present and are part of our future.
Westendarp uses the mundane, over-looked, seemingly unrelated events that happen inbetween the larger events of his own life to question social constructs of marking time and creating meaning. He says, “We recall time and set marks in our past to track down our history, but in between these points, there are several events that pass unperceived because they don’t seem to belong to a chain of actions and consequences that links directly with an important moment.” By reformulating how we define our understanding of place, restructuring how we mark time and questioning the memories we perceive as meaningful Westendarp reveals an alternate way of viewing the world that is rich in metaphoric potential and philosophical contemplation.