/ Bivouac Marfa


Coming from Europe, we see the American West as a symbolic, mythical and iconic landscape: America’s heart of guns, cotton, solitary men, cacti and dunes. But travelling through the West, we experience diverse layers of delicacy and weight, sophistication and profoundness.

Participating in the Land Art of the American West program 2019, the duration in which we spent in the field generously played its part. We had the opportunity to experience the plains, with days spent immersed in land art without distraction, exploring the human interventions in the landscape through dialogue and fiction, investigating the transformative impact on nature.
During The Chinati Weekend, a temporary camp was set. At BIVOUAC: Marfa a symposium and public dialogue was held, as a chance to percolate and generate new ideas in one of the most inspiring intersections of art, architecture, landscape, and ambition—located in West Texas.

‘In October 1987, Donald Judd began the tradition of Chinati Weekend by inviting the local community as well as friends and colleagues from across the country and around the world to come to Chinati for a weekend of open viewing of the permanent collection, special exhibitions, talks, and music, all offered free to the public. In the more than thirty years since then, Chinati Weekend has grown to be an essential part of Chinati’s programming and a much-anticipated cultural event for the entire West Texas region.’ The Chinati Foundation


Spectre, brings expected scenes, albeit an unexpected character of an American Western, into interpretations of the landscape the artist duo grew up romanticising from afar. In an investigation of the land, the duo applies the scenes of Westerns, imparted on them by daily TV matinee broadcast in the artists’ native Europe. The inherent fascination of the Western’s aesthetics and the newfound captivation of the geography is the foundation for a fiction, starring a stranger surveying his surroundings using old gestures and an outsiders’ lens. Grounded in memories of adventures and dramatic turns, Spectre is immediately familiar, complete with genre clichés, yet somewhat odd, bizarrely foreign with a searching trajectory. A loner—dotting the horizon, walking on dirt roads or in the streets of small pueblos—the protagonist has been dropped into the West, like Crusoe or ET; indoctrinated by the TV-screen, he is prepared to interact upon his arrival.


The tales of Curtis Francisco conjure scenes: short stories, just a couple of pages long. You are presented with variables in a script: day or night, interior or exterior, landscapes and you meet your protagonist—sister Christine and her unlawful ex-boyfriend, Uncle Arthur that built a house and died of cancer shortly after, cousin June the lawyer of the family, Grandma Lucia who lived to 101 years old and the Chinese colonel who built a house for his sheep—in minutes, you are immersed in a setting—the social fabric of Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico. The stories are generous but not always cheerful, though they certainly capture something specific in the relationship between the land and its people: they portray delicate narratives, stories of lives deconstructed in and around the Jack Pile mine since the 60s through to today, stories full of honesty, premonitions and subtle turns.