Santiago Mostyn places the body, most often his own, at the centre of his practice to examine notions of self and otherness. Often undertaking actions that require physical or mental endurance, he places himself in situations where he is left to negotiate what he encounters.
Mostyn’s work Citizen documents a recent action in which the artist bought a small boat and rowed across the Mediterranean Sea, from Dilek Peninsula in Turkey to Samos in Greece. Presented as a double-projection, the work follows the journey in real time. One side documents the artist departing Turkey and rowing away in the direction of Greece, and the other shows Mostyn coming towards the Greek side. Most of what we see is the serenity of the artist in his boat surrounded by the sea, in a vast space of openness and surrender. It is also significant that the artist undertook this action without the necessary permissions, aware that Europe has a policy to protect its borders against mass migration. In undertaking this journey, mirroring that taken by asylum seekers in recent years, Mostyn acknowledges that the history of the Mediterranean has been significant in understanding both the origins and development of modern societies, and the European self-image. The ocean is something integral to sustaining life, yet also to death—not least, considering the number of undocumented migrants drowning during their journey across the Mediterranean.
Santiago Mostyn lives and works in Stockholm.
The installation is on display at Göteborgs Konsthall.
With support from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee
Citizen, installation view WheredoIendandyoubegin – On Secularity, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017, Göteborgs Konsthall. Photo Hendrik Zeitler.