You Have Left the American Sector, 2011

Basel 2019
You Have Left the American Sector

Catriona Jeffries

3m reflective highway vinyl, extruded aluminum, galvanized steel, and wood 305 × 305 × 41 cm
Schifflände / Mittlere Brücke Ron Terada’s sculpture You Have Left the American Sector (2011) is part of an ongoing series with title, text, and materials adapted from the original Checkpoint Charlie sign at the East-West Berlin border, referring to postwar divisions of political territory and the ongoing implications of social and geographical divisions. In each iteration, the English title text is paired with a translation in a second language particular to its place of production or exhibition. This piece was originally commissioned for Terada’s 2011 solo exhibition at the MCA Chicago, using Illinois state signage facilities, with text in English and Spanish (the predominant second language of the United States). Although it originates from a specific geographical and temporal context outside of Europe, the work’s installation at the foot of Mittlere Rheinbrücke (Middle Rhine Bridge) only expands its questions for us, as it was one of the earliest bridges constructed on the Rhine in 1226 and key to the development of long-distance crossborder trading routes. In this contemporary moment of global, social, and political upheaval, we are asked to consider the greater picture of mass migration and the implications of the increasingly antiquated concept of national borders.