Then There Was Land is an exhibition of works, which evolved from K. Yoland’s four-month artist residency at Marfa Contemporary in West Texas. While on the border between Mexico and the United States, K. used video, photography, sculpture and performance to investigate sites of division and restriction.
K. Yoland took several field excursions along the borderland, some of these were taken alone, while others were taken alongside border patrol guards, oil industry workers or cattle ranchers. On these trips K. observed the affects that natural and artificial boundaries had on these different groups. Whilst with the ranchers K. observed how tumbleweeds freely crossed boundaries such as barbed wire fences or the national border, but also learnt that this icon of the American landscape is not indigenous, but originated in Russia. Henceforth, the paradoxical nature of these plants became a source of inspiration for the form of this body of work, and a means through which to investigate notions of borders, invasion, migration and the alien.
Other imagery used to explore these ideas included barbed wire and the commonplace red paper used by construction workers in the area. In response to the fact that 95% of land in Texas is privately owned K. used these markers of division to delineate and conquer the landscape and the figures within it, and explore the importance of mapping and possessing as an attempt to assert control over the vast landscape and over ourselves.
These works attempt to unpick the concept of ownership in relation to both the landscape and the bodies within it. Through performance, sculpture, photography and video’s K.’s work considers how the physical and conceptual demarcation of the land creates its own limits on the way we think and how we come to determine our notions of hierarchy, control and freedom.