Santiago Borja (Mexico, 1970) works on the intersection of art, anthropology and architecture, creating large-scale installations and architectural interventions that blur cultural boundaries and contrast traditional crafts with contemporary theory and design.
As an artist, Borja has developed different approaches to the idea of cultural heritage (either material or intangible) and its relation with identity, and how these two are reflected in different crafts and diverse artistic expressions. Specifically, the artist has created architectural installations built upon the idea of cultural cross-pollination in contrast with dominant and singleminded notions, and thus revealing hidden narratives and questioning the idea of permanent and authentic / original identities. In that sense, coming from a colonized country, he is very interested in the notion of cultural hybridization or metissage.
Furthermore, Borja has been exploring the hidden roots of modernism, specially those that challenge the expanded notion about modernism only being about rationalism, progress, and a direct consequence of the enlightenment ideology.
On one hand, he has delved into its connection with “primitivism”, and, on the other, to modern western esotericism and its unrecognized —yet continuous— influence in contemporary creative practices.
More recently, the artist has developed extensive research on marginal belief systems and how these materialize in objects, traditional construction techniques, or ways of living that express themselves in an artistic way. In other words, Borja has been working in places of significant cultural value, collaborating with people who share a distinctive belief system in order to create artificial —yet real— connections through the clash of diverse cultural traditions and / or artifacts. It is important to mention that he is not only interested in the live-experience exchange one could develop through this sort of art practice, but also in the theoretical and conceptual outcome that follows.