Runo Lagomarsino

Born in 1977 in Malmö (Sweden), he lives and works between São Paulo (Brazil) and Malmö.

Runo Lagomarsino’s work We Didn’t Cross the Border, the Border Crossed Us takes up a slogan from the migrants’ rights movement in the United States that refers to the fact that much of the current territory of the United States at one point belonged to Mexico.

In order to create this work, Lagomarsino collected a series of postcards and photographs from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, all of which feature images of the United States-Mexico border: the Río Grande, the Santa Elena Canyon, international bridges, and a few border towns. Out of a total of eleven images, only one shows signs of the profound social and economic differences between both countries; in the rest of the images the border would seem to be an idyllic place.

With the contrast between the images and the title of the piece, Lagomarsino criticizes the problematic of borders, migrants, and colonialism. At the same time, in a poetic but invisible gesture, he attempts to create a union between the two countries by using materials from both sides of the border to frame the photographs and postcards—in one version of the piece, the glass comes from a frame shop in Mexico and the wood from one in the United States, and vice versa in another version.

Lagomarsino’s interest in addressing themes having to do with geopolitics and colonialism is related to his own history, which is also crisscrossed by borders. Born in Sweden to Argentinian parents of Italian descent, whose own parents had in turn fled Europe after World War I, Lagomarsino plays with his own multicultural background in order to take multiple perspectives in examining aspects of contemporary life that have a powerful historical charge, such as the social and political problems of migration and borders. [A. D.]