rubén garcía marrufo

Hallie Ford Fellow in the Visual Arts 2021

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rubén garcía marrufo describes themself simply as “a border artist.” They were born in Los Angeles on a Thursday and returned to Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico on a Sunday. marrufo has a poet’s interest in language and translation. Translation enters their imagination as one might expect of a bilingual creative, but also as a tactic in artmaking, as they explain, “smuggling concepts through different mediums.” Film, video and sound are often central to this process, as collaborative jumping-off points, as the building blocks of installations, as pure moving image. marrufo’s video work borrows from documentary but is not purely fact, borrows from cinema but is more poetic than character or narrative driven.

“The backbone of my experimental practice [is] the elimination of separation, the concept of borders, boundaries and the infinite by means of a transdisciplinary practice. That the focus of it shouldn't be in the American Imaginarium of what the border is, but a practice rooted in engaging with borders and how they manifest in our everyday. To feel free to dream beyond limits.”

marrufo received a Master of Fine Arts from Pacific Northwest College of Arts. Their work has been exhibited by Mexicali Rose Centro de Arte/Medios, Mexicali, Mexico; Kunstverein, Munich, Germany; MexiCali Biennial, San Bernardino, California; LACE, Los Angeles, California; MoMA and artist space, New York, New York, and in Oregon at the Portland 2019 Biennial, Oregon Contemporary (formerly Disjecta Contemporary Art Center), Portland; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, and UNA Gallery, Portland. They are a 2020 Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship recipient.

Collaborator and Hallie Ford Fellow Sharita Towne says of marrufo’s work, “No one is sharing work like this in Oregon that I'm familiar with. It feels like a soft shaking up of things, a breathing of a love of film and moving image, performance, and installation. It feels like something new, something to be curious about.”


delineation of breaths ii / performative lecture / zoom play, 80 min / Portland OR/Mexicali BC / MRC Reed College / rubén’s childhood bedroom, 2020, Video Still

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