Migration and Material Alchemy

Poetry, translation, and materiality are foregrounded in this selection of works by contemporary artists from around the globe. These artists present subjects and materials in states of transition to contend with issues of urgent social concern, including political upheaval, environmental degradation, displaced populations, and the AIDS crisis. Working from positions of personal or political vulnerability, they provide a human context for issues of immense scope and imbue humble materials with spiritual or metaphorical resonance. In this way, alchemy, as it describes the migration from one state of being to another, provides the conceptual axis for this installation. Each of the works on view captures a moment of physical or metaphysical transformation and highlights this shifting, indeterminate condition as one of simultaneous vulnerability and powerful potential.

Migration and Material Alchemy is part of a community-wide initiative that explores the theme of migration through myriad lenses. In celebration of the fiftieth year of the Program in Latin American Studies at Princeton University, this installation features artists from Brazil, Chile, Cuba, and Peru.

  • Sueño y Mentira de Franco (Dream and Lie of Franco)
    Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881–1973 | Printed by Roger Lacourière, French, 1892–1966
    Sueño y Mentira de Franco (Dream and Lie of Franco), 1937
    x1972-2
  • Quipu with three figures
    Late Horizon
    Inca
    Quipu with three figures,
    y1990-73
  • Illuminated Man
    Duane Michals, American, born 1932
    Illuminated Man, 1986
    x1993-190.2.10
  • Book from the Sky (Tianshu 天書)
    Modern period, 1912–present
    Chinese
    Xu Bing 徐冰, Chinese, born 1955
    Book from the Sky (Tianshu 天書), ca. 1987–91
    2002-281.1-.5
  • Atlas Procession I
    William Kentridge, South African, born 1955
    Atlas Procession I, 2000
    2002-412
  • Atlas Procession II
    William Kentridge, South African, born 1955 | Printed by Jack Shirreff at 107 Workshop | Published by David Krut Editions, South African
    Atlas Procession II, 2000
    2002-413
  • Land Mark (Foot Prints)
    Allora & Calzadilla, American and Cuban, working together from 1995
    Land Mark (Foot Prints), 2001–02
    2009-147 a
  • Land Mark (Foot Prints)
    Allora & Calzadilla, American and Cuban, working together from 1995
    Land Mark (Foot Prints), 2001–02
    2009-147 c
  • Land Mark (Foot Prints)
    Allora & Calzadilla, American and Cuban, working together from 1995
    Land Mark (Foot Prints), 2001–02
    2009-147 e
  • Land Mark (Foot Prints)
    Allora & Calzadilla, American and Cuban, working together from 1995
    Land Mark (Foot Prints), 2001–02
    2009-147 f
  • Land Mark (Foot Prints)
    Allora & Calzadilla, American and Cuban, working together from 1995
    Land Mark (Foot Prints), 2001–02
    2009-147 g
  • Land Mark (Foot Prints)
    Allora & Calzadilla, American and Cuban, working together from 1995
    Land Mark (Foot Prints), 2001–02
    2009-147 i