Debt. There is nowhere to hide in the open field
August 25, 2023 to January 2024


In his new project The debt. There is nowhere to hide in the open field, the artist Miguel Fernández de Castro takes up the traditional notion of the landscape and alters it through contemporary art to address social problems such as migration. The artist's proposal will be on display starting Saturday, August 26 and until the beginning of 2024 at Espacio Uno, in MARCO.

The relevance of the artist's project lies in its contribution to the history of the landscape, which is normally not associated with post-conceptual strategies, where the idea is superior to traditional aesthetics or conventional media. In The Debt, Fernández de Castro redefines the concept of landscape through the social problems that migration implies, represented through the camouflage uniforms that immigrants usually acquire to go unnoticed by the immigration authorities.

In recent years, the Sonoran artist has collaborated with one of the sewing workshops dedicated to the production of camouflage clothing, located in the municipality of Altar, Sonora, which borders Pima County, in Arizona, United States. The town is located on the border of Mexico with the United States and has a migratory flow. Therefore, the main clients of the sewing workshops are the migrant trafficking organizations, known as “polleros.”

Camouflage clothing is commonly used as a uniform by the military to avoid being identified by another agent or enemy when working in the field. In the case of buyers in the town of Altar, the camouflage print aims to ensure that migrants go unnoticed by the authorities who monitor the border area. Therefore, the function of camouflage is subverted: from a military or war context where it is worn by elements of the armed forces of governments, the garments begin to be used in a situation related to illegal migration and human trafficking. Currently, Altar's economy benefits from different direct and indirect aspects of undocumented migration. The marketing of camouflage presses is in high demand; also other types of businesses such as transportation, clothing, hotels, pawn shops, restaurants, bars, among others.

Pawn shops frequently receive shipments of camouflage clothing as collateral for a loan, due to the commercial value they have in the context of the municipality of Altar. This was the case of the owner of the sewing workshop with which the artist collaborated for this project. She pawned bales of newly made clothing in 2018 and with the loan amount acquired an industrial sewing machine. The businesswoman decided not to recover the merchandise because the current colors of the Sonoran landscape changed from green tones, like that of the pawned clothing, to sandy colors for several reasons. One was the natural change of season that transforms the colors in the desert landscape; Another was the drought that has affected the region as a result of excessive livestock farming, open-pit mining, large agricultural areas dedicated to monocultures, among other aspects.





Exhibition guide
Reflection guide

CURADURÍA: Taiyana Pimentel, director of MARCO


ROOMS: Space One.

TECHNICAL: Painting, installation, photography, objects.


MARCO appreciates the support of: