Commonwealth and Council

Box (a proposition for ten years)

Patricia Fernández


Commonwealth and Council presents Box (a proposition for ten years) by Patricia Fernández. This year, we celebrate our 4-year anniversary together with Box for Beate and Christopher Chee, and Box for Kang Seung Lee and Geoffrey Wall, alongside an installation of references and a selection of smaller boxes that dates from 1985 to the present made by the artist, her grandfather, and in collaboration.

Once a year since 2013, Box for Commonwealth and Council is exhibited with its contents (re-purposed fragments, writings, drawings, paintings, and sculptural elements) as they accumulate, transform, and grow over time until 2022. Through this time-based sculpture, the artist fosters a relationship with the space by carving her own in the tradition of the antecedent’s mark—proposing a personalized exchange system that recreates the relationship between the artist and her grandfather.

Box grew from a tradition of woodcarving and box-making that became her grandfather’s signature and handwriting. The x-mark found on the boxes is an Arabic imprint that survived through Medieval Spain and became part of her grandfather’s vocabulary as he built furniture, altars, coffins, and other commissions for the Catholic Church in the 1940s. Later in his life, he would build boxes for his granddaughter and others in his life. Each of these individual boxes would gather small objects, old letters, and documents over time—archiving memories, collecting conversations, and transmitting ideas unto the future. For the artist and her grandfather, the x-mark serves as a record of time and an exercise of memory, revealing the expansive potential of an adopted tradition as it shifts, slips, and alters over a single lifetime.

Patricia Fernández (b. 1980 in Burgos, Spain; lives and works in Los Angeles) studied at Saint Martins College of Art, University of California, Los Angeles, and received an MFA from California Institute of the Arts (2010). Fernández applies an archeological approach to the family archive in order to investigate the inaccuracy of our inherited memories and the subjectivity of personal experience. Through a complex network of forms and information, she seeks to investigate histories and literatures forgotten, misplaced, or buried. She has exhibited her work at Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos, Spain; LA><ART, Los Angeles; Clifton Benevento, New York; David Petersen Gallery, Minneapolis; ltd los angeles; and Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA). Her project A Record of Succession was included in Made in L.A. 2012 at the Hammer Museum. She is a recipient of Joan Mitchell Grant (2010), California Community Foundation Fellowship (2011), and France Los Angeles Exchange Grant (2012), and an artist resident of Fondazione Antonio Ratti (2013), 18th Street Arts Center (2014), Headlands Center for the Arts (2015), D-Flat, México, D.F. (2016), and Récollets, Paris (2016).