LEANING TOWER OF PISA
Won Ju Lim
October 1 - November 11, 2017
They could have let it fall but at some point they decided to stop it. The angle could hardly be corrected, so there it is; the crooked tower, in a sort of everlasting suspension, partially leaning, partially falling, caught for the posterity in between the forces that articulate its prominent identity. A tragicomical phenomenon of structural tensions generated by the unusual combination of the weight of a heavy mass of Romanesque architecture and the inadequacy of the soft land of Pisa. A formal monument to the incongruity of a baroque emotive. A hyper-iconic self-ironic embodiment of structural inner struggle.
As a human narrative, the Leaning Tower of Pisa can be analogous to the “struggle with self” as a recurrent archetypal motif. We identify this archetype at play when the characters in a narrative must contend with personal internal feelings that often contradict each other or conflict with what seems most logically appropriate. It is a paradigm humans have presumably generated through our collective adaptive need to make sense of our existence and the world around us in situations when we experience unresolvable internal struggles and inconsistencies. As a model for the contradiction and existential paradox that inhabits our iconography, text, and speech-based narratives, this archetype of the internal struggle can arguably be found as a formal phenomenon; the articulation of physical and structural parameters.
Inspired by the ideas above and instigated by field observations of our closest contemporary art world surroundings, this exhibition gathers a group of works that display structural inner tensions that could potentially be understood as embodiments of this “struggle with self”. Pieces that are articulated around some sort of formal unresolvable and ongoing conflict or tension. A struggle that gives core identity to the work becoming a sub-theme that operates on a deeply shared psychological level and may be to a certain degree foreign, although complementary, to the conscious circumstances of the production of each piece and/or the intentions of the artists.
These works display a sort of a repertoire of “conflicted formalisms”. They openly challenge the idea of formal uniformity, continuity and certainty, displaying all at once affirmative, negative and contradictory dimensions. A query that may be worth considering when encountering these pieces is questioning how the repertoire of individual gestures, actions, and responses resonates within the convoluted times we live in – times when the subjects and the world seem to be in a structural crisis – trying to “maintaining composure” in an ongoing struggle for coherency and continuity while navigating through slippery trues, structural challenges, emotional tensions, and rational inconsistencies.
Anthony Lepore is an artist working in photography and sculpture. The photo in this exhibit is part of a larger body of work that explores the intersection of labor and fantasy in the context of the functioning bikini factory were these photographs are made. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including shows at M+B Gallery, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Team Gallery, the Kemper Museum and Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Beatriz Olabarrieta. Recent solo shows include: Clever to follow goat, Antoine Levi, Paris (2017); Book! Dont tell me what to do, Parallel Oaxaca, Mexico City (2017); Dumb Bells, Saturdays Live, Serpentine Galleries (2016); Cosmic Clap, MOT International, London (2015); Plot Bunny, Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland (2015).Recent group shows include Assorted Paper, The Sunday Painter, London (2017); Brace Brace, 29 Percy St., London (2017); All Over, Studio Leigh, London (2016) and The boys the girls and the political, Lisson Gallery, London (2015).In 2016, Olabarrieta completed the Platform residency at Site Gallery in Sheffield and has recently been awarded the Joanna Drew Travel Bursary towards a research trip to Japan
Daniel Mendel-Black has exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad. Recent shows include: André Butzer, Daniel Mendel-Black at Galerie Bernd Kugler in Innsbruck, Austria; Thomas Arnolds, André Butzer, Daniel Mendel-Black at Galerie Hammelehle und Ahrens, Cologne, Germany; and Daniel Mendel-Black: Pretty Lips Are Red at China Art Objects Galleries in Los Angeles. Mendel-Black’s work is represented in a number of public collections. In Los Angeles his paintings are included in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art and the UCLA Hammer Museum.
Belén obtained her Master's degree from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and UCM Madrid. She has taken part in a number of artists-in-residence programmes, including Artista x Artista, Havana in 2016, Hooper Projects in Los Angeles, 2015, Academia de España in Rome 2012 and BMUKK Tokyo in 2009. Her solo exhibitions include ‘After Sputnik’, Josh Lilley Gallery, London 2013; ‘Circa’, Das weisse Haus, Vienna 2011; and ‘XXXXX’, Parra & Romero Gallery, Madrid 2010. She received the Staatstipendium from BMB Austria in 2015, the Generation 2011 Prize and a Honourable Mention Generation 2009 Prize in 2009 both from Caja Madrid.
Emily Marchand works with food, textiles, and sculptural materials to create art works centered around survivalism, preservation, and the decentralization of humans in relation to ecology and nature. Between research and production, she grapples with making sculpture that encompasses the conceptual ideas she is investigating while maintaining integrity to the materials used, especially their history, location, usefulness, and abilities. Her main interests are materials from the earth that have transformative abilities (i.e. clay into ceramic, salt crystallization, tree sap into amber, seeds, beeswax and fibers.)
Kim Garcia is an artist who works in sculpture, video, and installation. Her work utilizes liminality as a productive site for investigating interdependent relationships between objects, people, and spaces. She has most recently exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2017), San Diego Art Institute (2017), Torrance Art Museum (2017), FAR Bazaar (2017), and GAIT.LA (2016). Garcia is an artist living in Los Angeles, CA and is currently an MFA Candidate at UCI.
Ted Chung is an artist who loves making sculpture. His work thrives in the tension between the brute quality of material and the fragile definition of body. He graduated from UCLA with a BA in Fine Art and received an MFA in Visual Art from UCSD. He has shown at Paredon Blanco, Pieter, and Upstairs from the Market Gallery. He lives and works in Los Angeles.
Won Ju Lim’s practice examines the complex interactions of real and imaginary space as they produce fantasy, memory, and longing. Lim’s work has been exhibited widely in United States and internationally. Her most recent solo exhibitions include; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose (forthcoming); Yerba Buena Art Center, San Francisco; St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis.