Lorena Molina

Artist/Educator

Blog

Currently being shown at Sabine Studios, Houston
September 30-November 11, 2023

It was previously shown at Assembly Gallery, Houston, TX, July 28 – September 2, 2023

Important: Place holder documentation of the exhibition.
Professional documentation coming soon.

Corn mazes are a common staple of agritourism, created by farmers to generate extra income and enjoyed for family fun in the fall months. There are much larger historical and political implications of this crop, however, as policies like NAFTA have forever changed corn farming in Latin America and caused an influx of immigration to the United States. I draw a connection between the complex, winding journey within a corn maze and the journey of immigration.

Corn fields have always connected me to El Salvador and the places I have lived in the Midwest and Central NY. Inside a corn maze, visitors must trust their instincts for the journey as they search not only for the center, but also for a way back to the start. You hear stories of people getting lost in corn mazes. Sometimes the diaspora can feel like that. The way back is not always certain and sometimes families, culture and histories are lost on the way to a promise.

On my research on what people carry on their journey. I kept coming back to the candy that they bring as a quick light source of energy. The candy comes right from the corn, from high fructose corn syrup. A cheap substitute for sugar. A substitute always.

In the center of the corn maze there is a pile of candy. Candy is sometimes used as a reward after a doctor visit, as something enticing and temporarily relieving. In an art historical context, the candy is in conversation with artist Félix González-Torres use of it as a symbol of mourning.

The candies at the center of the maze have several phrases and questions printed on them that participants can take with them, prompting us to think about the fragility of safety and freedom, about who benefits from these ideas and who pays a high price for them. I invite the participants to use the maze as a site for meditation and contemplation of this experience, and to honor the many places that people have left to be here.

The installation is filled with sounds from the Sonoran Desert and sounds of machetes cutting the corn to create a pathway. The Corn Stalks were sourced from a local farm in Texas.

This exhibition is possible thanks to grants by The Idea Fund and the University of Houston. The Idea Fund is a re-granting program administered by DiverseWorks in partnership with Aurora Picture Show and Project Row Houses and funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. As well as the studio and research support from Lucy Carranza and Dranat Vazquez.

Excerpt text from Julio Torres-Recinos' poem, Sin Recentiminiento.

Phrases scripted in the candy: Do you feel safe? Do you feel free? At What cost? Who Stays? Who leaves?

At Assembly Gallery

At Assembly Gallery

At Assembly Gallery

At Assembly Gallery

At Assembly Gallery

At Assembly Gallery

At Assembly Gallery

Photograph by Lucy Carranza

At Assembly Gallery

At Assembly Gallery

At Sabine Studios

At Sabine studios


  • Type Installation, sculpture, sound, text and candy.

Up Next:

At What cost Part I (EXPO Chicago Installation)