Endogenous / Exogenous / Endogène / Exogéne
Gold leaf on agave flowers
336 x 364 cm
The work Endogenous/Exogenous (2018) is comprised of cuttings from clusters of agave blossom, which appear as a wall of quasi ex-votos. The agave, originally from Central America, signs its own death warrant to bloom, which occurs just once in its lifespan. The effort required to reproduce is such, that soon after the flowers arrive, the plant dries out and dies. The remains look like religious crosses or anthropomorphic family figures, which the artist harvests and repurposes. Upon their bodies, Samyn projects a celestial chart: the stars are illuminated with fragments cut from emergency thermal blankets, bring forth allusions to the manifold migratory crises experienced in the region of the plant’s origin—the border between Mexico and the United States—and in those where the agave has since been transplanted, such as the Mediterranean basin.
These flowers are shown as much for their symbolic value as for their beauty. The word Agave stems from the Greek ᾰ̓γᾰθός, meaning worthy of admiration. The Maya used—and still do—the plant as much for the fibres it produces as for the extraction of pulque or mezcal, a source of sacred intoxication. Indeed, the maya Goddess Mayahuel embodies the agave itself. Ultimately, this work deals with the flows of vegetal and human life on the horizontality of territories, and further opens up to the verticality of celestial borders and the question of absence.