Current Exhibit

Fort Da // Sampler


A site specific installation by
artist Santiago Borja for the
Neutra VDL Research House

Collaborators: Textile designer Maddalena Forcella
and El Camino de los Altos Tzotzil Textile Cooperative

Exhibit: November 17 - December 22, 2010

Opening: Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 5pm

Neutra VDL Research House,
2300 Silver Lake Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90039

FORT DA // SAMPLER is a site-specific installation by Mexico City-based artist Santiago Borja. The artist and his collaborators have erected a temporary, functioning textile loom transforming the roof of architect Richard Neutra’s family home. Borja’s architectural intervention encourages new readings of this place, and what he sees as the elusive nature of “magical thinking” embedded in Modernism. The project grows from the formal similarities between modern abstract geometry and Mayan patterning used to represent the cosmos.

The installation title comes from Borja’s study of Freud’s “Fort / Da” theory, which says that the symbolic allows us to manage the discrepancies between pleasure and reality. Freud developed his theory while watching a child repeatedly throw a wooden reel attached to a string over a ledge. The child would watch it disappear, retrieve it, and then throw it back again. Freud theorized that this game was how the child managed his anxiety created by the absence of his mother. Borja takes this theory further, envisioning the act of throwing the reel as a way to trace an emotional space that visually and physically connects us to a distant place.

In Chiapas, as in other areas of Mexico, young apprentices establish their identity as textile makers through the creation of several samplers that codify the entire textile language. The process of weaving and embroidering these samplers connect them to past, present, and future textile processes, creating a dialogue with the cosmic and natural world around them.


About the Artist

Santiago Borja has a Bachelor Degree in Architecture from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico and a Master on Theory and Practice of Contemporary Art and New Media from Université Paris 8. Recent projects include Divan, Freud Museum, London, May 2010; In the Shadow of the Sun, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dècalage, Museo Experimental El Eco, Mexico City, 2009; and Halo, Pavilion Le Corbusier, Foundation Suisse, CIUP, Paris, 2008.

With generous support from:

Fundación/ Colección Jumex

SNCA-FONCA Conaculta

g727 Gallery

Neutra VDL Research House II

Big City Forum

About g727

g727 seeks to generate dialogues on artistic representations and interpretations of the urban landscape. The building blocks of a city comprise more than simply buildings, streets, and sidewalks. They equally encompass personal experience, collective memory and narratives. These are the less tangible, but no less integral elements that transform mere infrastructure into place. Through photography, painting, writing and video installations, artists open our eyes to these elements and heighten our awareness of what makes a place a place. g727 welcomes these artists to its space to help us all better understand the complex nature of cities and the urban condition.

Additional programming:

g727 Textile Tour and Roundtable Discussion
When: Saturday, November 20th, 11 am - 1 pm  
Where: g727 727 South Spring Street, LA CA 90014
For more information please to

About Neutra VDL House

Neutra VDL Studio and Residences was home to Richard Neutra and his family. Built in three phases (1932, 1939, and 1966) this is the only Neutra home that is publicly owned and open to the public. The house is currently owned and managed by Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design.

Tours are every Saturday from 11am to 3pm. For more information visit

Media Contacts

Adrian Rivas, Director of g727 or (213) 627 9563

Sarah Lorenzen, Director Neutra VDL House, (323) 644-5480