How many billboards?
Photo: Gerard Smulevich

Christina Fernandez

The practice of Christina Fernandez combines genre photography with formats such as the photo-roman to tell histories and stories of migration and immigration. Working also in documentary and formal modes, her urban and landscape photography carry subtle social and political commentary through choice of subject matter, light, framing and focus on detail. Her billboard, Coldwell Couch, fuses two square-format photographs from her recent series Serano, capturing two distinct vantage points onto the characteristically Los Angeleno geography of an El Sereno neighborhood. Taken at the same site ten months apart, the two sides of the diptych are a complex meditation on our present socio-economic condition. In the left-hand photograph, a post displaying a Coldwell Banker Brokerage sign cuts across the foreground of the frame while, from a distance, an overturned loveseat echoes the shapes of houses sunk into a lush ravine of natural and cultivated vegetation. The warm tones of dry summer weed in the right-hand image indicate the passage of a significant amount of time, yet the couch is still there. Framed close-up, the couch's bleached out pattern uncannily echoes the foliage of the castor bean plant behind it. The push-pull between the natural and the man-made is everywhere in this piece, reflecting the structure of its context. Los Angeles was the first American city built not on the European model, as were Chicago and New York, but on the Jeffersonian model of a center-less city in the midst of vast countryside. Refusing to "return to nature"-to either collapse or decompose-the couch turns into a ruin, a monument to the failure of the Homestead American Dream. At this moment in history, the Coldwell sign unavoidably evokes the collapse of the housing market and its far-reaching aftermath.
By Nizan Shaked

LOCATION: Hollywood Blvd, west of Bronson Ave, on the south side of the street, facing west.
View How Many Billboards? in a larger map

Christina Fernandez (b. 1965)
Christina Fernandez is a photographer/artist and educator who lives and works in Los Angeles. Fernandez earned an MFA. from California Institute of the Arts. Fernandez's work examines the intersections between private and public space, personal and historical narratives, ex-urban and city spaces, and the cultural border and historical relationships between the United States and Mexico. Fernandez's photographic works often utilize text or other methods of narration in which the more-than-personal narrative is of primary importance. Fernandez's work was shown in recent group exhibitions including Phantom Sightings: Art after the Chicano Movement, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (traveling); This Side of Paradise: Body and Landscape in Los Angeles Photographs, Huntington Memorial Library and Gardens, San Marino (traveling); and Index: Conceptualism in California, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She is an associate professor of photography at Cerritos College.

© MAK Center for Art and Architecture | Terms of Use