From Wisconsin to Mexico City

A Midwestern photographer finds herself in the middle of the Mexican art world

Escrito por: Enrique Traver
Visuales de: Erinn Springer

Is seems like Mexico is getting kind of trendy. Whenever someone talks about the art world they mention Mexico—whether it’s VICE declaring Mexico as the new Berlin or some of my art school friends telling me that they’re applying to SOMA or some other artist residency in Mexico.

And Erinn Springer is no exception—having chosen Mexico City as the location for her first solo photography show. In this interview, Erinn tells us why Mexico, and how it is that a Wisconsin photographer ends up in the world of Mexican art.

Room in Galería Breve, Mexico City.

Room in Galería Breve, Mexico City.

E.T. – Describe the feelings you had getting ready for this show? Was it the climax after three years of producing work or how would you describe it?

E.S. – I had been speaking to Galeria Breve since last October but I really started working putting the show together in January. The opening was definitely a high of the past few years because it was so nice to see an edited series of the work in such a nice space (with all my friends!). The feeling I had on opening night (and weeks leading up) was that I wanted to do more of this! More shows and take Sample 14.7 even further.

E.T. – What would you say is the hardest part of this process?

E.S. – Streamlining my thoughts into a cohesive well-rounded show and tying the writings to the photos…. just, generally making sense of my emotions and thoughts behind the images and intention with photography.

People sunk in a grey viscous liquid.

E.T. – In a sentence how would you describe the work you choose to show?

E.S. – Dreamy, provocative, and diversely unified.

E.T. – Why Mexico for your first solo show? How did it come about for you to have an exhibition in Mexico?

E.S. – I met Begoña of Breve through a friend last fall. We hit it off and she invited me to work with her in CDMX. She is so lovely. Once my ideas started expanding, she found another beautiful space to work with in Centro called White Cremnitz. It made sense to premiere the project in Mexico given that the works are from all over the world.

Room in Galería Breve, Mexico City.

E.T. – How would you describe the art scene that you got to experience in Mexico?

E.S. – Vivacious in color and personality. Art is so engrained in the culture of the city and country, Mexico City is ALIVE. Plants as abundant as people in some neighborhoods.

E.T. – The day the show opened, describe the people you saw seeing your work.

E.S. – So many new faces! I was so lucky to have my closest friends and family fly down from New York and the Midwest, but there were even more fresh faces I was super happy to familiarize new people with the project and my work as a whole.

Woman lifting sand while smoking a cigarette.

E.T. – What would you say about your work that people must know.

E.S. – It’s me. It’s you. It’s the entire world. This project will be ongoing for my lifetime. It’s a project lead by me, but it involves the bidirectional process between subject and artist.

E.T. – Did you have any experience in particular during this show or your stay in Mexico that changed the way you see things?

E.S. – I wouldn’t say it “changed” me, but it reaffirms me and calms me down to know that, as in every other aspect, it takes patience and time, and mostly good production. This show proves everything is connected. A friend I met in Paris a long time ago introduced me to the gallery owner. This relationship led me to another place and gave me this chance. As to the works on their own, the majority was paired as non-related travel diptychs and triptychs, because they were similar in tone and voice. Each experience, and shoot, eventually ends up related to another moment in my life.

Children playing and jumping from a staircase.

E.T. – If you had to choose a work from this exhibit that sums up who you are which one would it be and why?

E.S. – It’s curious, when I’m traveling and taking pictures, people always ask me if I would like them to take a picture of me in a location as a souvenir, but… I am in every picture. In a way, they are all self-portraits because the frame is my mind over a given moment and place. So, there are certain works that have more meaning to me (such as the main image of my friend in an aluminum blanket), but every work sums up who am I at this moment.

Young woman covered with gold foil sitting on her bed.

Two women swimming in the middle of the ocean.

E.T. – Any fun facts about the exhibit or opening night.

E.S. – The night was all shades of red. The afterparty was at Club San Luis and we ended the night peso-less, splattered with hot sauce, and paying for tacos with salt shakers from the OXXO.

Photographer and friend posing in front of her photograph.

It is ironic that Erinn finished her night paying with salt shakers from the OXXO, the convenience store that we find in every corner in Mexico and that Gabriel Orozco replicated inside the Kurimanzutto gallery as a critique of consumerism. This is how Erinn joins the artists who explore Mexico and engage with its vibrant community.

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