The international sail at Kadist San Francisco

Lives Between March 8—May 6, 2017

Aslan Gaisumov, Dani Gal, Pawel Kruk, Runo Lagomarsino, Dana Levy, Tala Madani, Otobong Nkanga, Enrique Ramírez, Elham Rokni, Clarissa Tossin

Co-curated by: Joseph del Pesco

International Director, KADIST

Sergio Edelsztein

Director of the Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv


The International Sail at  by Enrique Ramírez

Yesterday, the 28th of March 2017, I saw in the newspaper a photograph of Mexican workers writing on the wall between Mexico and the USA: “We are not criminals, nor illegals, we are international workers.”

How does one use disadvantages to produce a new reading that can be nourished by a supposed weakness? To reverse a sail is an act that inevitably quotes Torres García, and it says: we can think that our horizon is not the north, we should look at the south, the south is our north, and it will always be that way, we are from the south, no matter where we are, we are always from the south…

The international sail is a Laser sail. The Laser was invented
in Canada in 1969 and is one of the most popular one-person sailboats in the world. Its symbol is a sun with one of its rays directed to the earth, like a comet rapidly falling. The Laser model was the rst that my father copied for reproduction in his sail shop in Santiago. This sail was produced in his studio, probably at the beginning of the 90s, since my father no longer has the sewing machine that made the stiches and seams.

This sail came back to his atelier years later to be repaired. No one remembers why but it was abandoned and remained in his cellar. Maybe its fabric was too worn-out and wasn’t worth the repair. Almost 20 years later I wanted to use this sail but the mice had eaten its lower side and thus the idea of repairing it was no longer appealing. That’s how it was le .

When Joseph del Pesco asked me to think about a sail for the exhibition, I thought about this one, somehow as a way of reconstructing what is broken, as a way of thinking about how history is repeating itself in the world. We return to the past without enough consideration of the mistakes. This sail has the color yellow hidden behind the color black and the ag of San Francisco is black and yellow (gold in peace, iron in war).

I thought of it as a sun hiding behind history. The sail has also green tones, one might make many associations about the green and the yellow covered by the black tones. Also around the colors green and white, especially if we watch TV and the images in daily newspapers. I also thought about my homeland, Chile, because indigenous people from the Andes said that the color yellow falling from the black sky was galactic garbage (gold).

Then I asked my father if he could nd this sail and if he could repair the beginning of it that had been eaten by the mice and not worn-out by the wind or the sea. The initial idea was to leave it looking like new, like a reconstructed history that had been torn and wiped o but that is then patched and mended in an impeccable way. But then I asked him not to repair the parts that were ripped by the wind and the weather, only the damages that were done by the mice, nothing else. This sail travelled to my studio in Paris and was re-repaired and patched in some places. Above all, it was dissected as a kind cartography and not as the proof of whatever it had been during its previous life. It has been altered as a way of transferring knowledge.

Later, the sail travelled from Paris to California folded in my suitcase. We arrived together to the other side of the world for the rst time. I ask myself: isn’t this sail an international sail? Aren’t we all international? Or maybe I’m wrong and, I’m also fooling America. My father worked on this sail, I worked on
this sail. This sail is today in California and many have worked for this sail to be here now. However, I don’t have a working permit, are we all illegal in that case? Let’s rather think that
we are all international workers. This sail travelled yesterday more kilometers than all the kilometers sailed in its entire life. It crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice.

This sail is the construction and translation of a communal work. An international sail is like the reading of a map is done by those in all nations, like hands are used by those in all nations, like a stone, like all of us, like the world.


Mexican workers painted a wall, I have crossed a giant wall in order to prove that I am a person that has the right to enter in the United States of America.

This sail is international and it couldn’t have existed without these three points: Santiago, Paris and California. A sail that now is framed, as a rumor about something, as a thread of coincidences, important or not, but that exist. But this sail is also a ag of war, a cartography that resists history. This sail is history, it fought against the sun, salt, wind, water; it is part of non existent histories that must exist, an international history with international colors and international wounds.

Leave a Comment