02 n°65 mar/avr/mai 2013
02 n°65 mar/avr/mai 2013
  • Prix facial : gratuit

  • Parution : n°65 de mar/avr/mai 2013

  • Périodicité : trimestriel

  • Editeur : Association Zoo galerie

  • Format : (210 x 297) mm

  • Nombre de pages : 84

  • Taille du fichier PDF : 11,6 Mo

  • Dans ce numéro : dossier Los Angeles... Mark Hagen, Ali Subotnick, Sterling Ruby, Marc-Olivier Wahler.

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54 Morris in 1968. There is indeed a network of influences which Sterling Ruby does not deny—quite to the contrary. Nevertheless, far from remaining in mere summoning and citation, when he appropriates these emblematic tendencies, it is the better to alter and warp them. By covering a monolithic block with dirt and graffiti, which inevitably calls the forms of Minimal Art to mind, heupsets our reading of it, and puts it no longer just in the terrain of aesthetics and the field of art properly so-called, but confronts it with the street, renders it fragile, and lends it another status. In so doing, he diverts the spectator’s attention from the object and the pure form, and directs his eye towards the violence and perverseness of his intervention. So it is with the SP series, large-format paintings which call to mind the Color Field Painting dear to Mark Rothko. But precisely where this latter worked in oil, acrylic and watercolour, Sterling Ruby makes his paintings with aerosol sprays, using a palette of colours ranging from deep black to dayglo green. Furthermore, far from the soothing quality caused by the famous painter of Russian origin, Sterling Ruby draws his inspiration from the numerous inscriptions made with aerosol sprays by the street gangs of Los Angeles to mark their turf, in an accumulation of signs which endsup by veering towards abstraction. As for the video installation The Masturbators (2009), it shows nine porn stars masturbating in front of the camera. Re-enacting, with a great deal of irony, the figure of the artist performing alone in his studio, in the manner of Bruce Nauman and Paul McCarthy, Sterling Ruby here casts a nothing if not offbeat eye on the thriving pornography industry in California, emphasizing the vacuousness of the action of its actors, just as much as the codes of masculinity imposed by our society–worked-out bodies with the forced rattles of the different protagonists. Sterling Ruby has lived in the City of Angels for some years, and has a ringside seat when it comes to looking at the aberrations of American society, which California is a magnifying mirror of. What is more, he appropriates the codes of this relentless society of the spectacle, and rails against its many shortcomings. So it was with the exhibition « Supermax », held in 2008 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, which plunged visitors into an oppressive post-apocalyptic atmosphere. This total and especially impressive installation was intended as a virulent criticism of Supermax, a highly controversial government programme entailing the detention and isolation of prisoners in their cells for 23 hours a day. By thus connecting the architecture of the Pacific Design Center with Pelican Bay, a maximum security prison in northern California, Sterling Ruby wanted to speak out against the aberrations of the American prison system–which has become extremely repressive since the 9/11 attacks–, restrictions on civil liberties, and the paranoia among the American people–or at least among its rulers–in the face of terrorism and crime. The last body of work produced to date by Sterling Ruby, titled Soft Work, was shown in particular at the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne a few months back. This ensemble is madeup of a host of soft forms, made using bits of coloured fabric retrieved here and there, Guest Sterling Ruby their style reminiscent of the quilts made by the Amish in the United States and the Boro in Japan. While his previous works stood proud and carried within them a formof defiance and arrogance, the pieces brought together here drag on the floor, or dangle, inert, as if the artist had shifted from an active and deliberate formof protest to a kind of disillusionment and renunciation. The installation, which, on the face of it, is more playful than his earlier works, because of the bright colours and the comforting look of these soft figures, is nothing if not craftier. In fact, as a former assistant to Mike Kelley at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Sterling Ruby has long been familiar with the theses championed by his « mentor », and is accordingly very aware of the emotional charge contained in these pieces of fabric, and in the Husbands, large cushions which were much in vogue in the 1980s, in which single American women curledup, here presented as rejects, discarded and abandoned. With Soft Work, Sterling Ruby is thus interested in the private space, the usual place of withdrawal and protection. But a place of salvation, nonetheless, in the bosom, of the American family, according to the Californian troublemaker, the sphere of privacy becoming in his work no longer a refuge against the outside world, but rather a place of alienation—especially of women— and confinement. Precisely where Jasper Johns’s famous picture depicting the American flag had pride of place, like a standard, Sterling Ruby’s flag hangs from the ceiling, as if at half mast, announcing the crumbling of the traditional family celland the anxiety which many American citizens are having to cope with in the face of the present-day situation. An installation of a rare violence which, seductively attired, in the end makes an inexorable statement about the state of American society, and more broadly about the worldwide situation. – Sterling Ruby Monument Stalagmite/Everyday Carry, 2012. Tube de PVC, mousse, bois, peinture aérosol et formica/PVC pipe, foam, urethane, wood, spray paint and formica, 541 × 101.6 × 160 cm. Photo : Robert Wedemeyer, Los Angeles. Courtesy the artist and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels.
Entretien avec/Interview with Frank Elbaz * Aude Launay – Qu’est ce qui lie la galerie Frank Elbaz à Los Angeles ? Tout a commencé en 2005 lorsque j’ai remarqué le travail de Kaz Oshiro dans l’exposition « Thing, New Scupltures from Los Angeles » au Hammer Museum. C’est ensuite par son intermédiaire que j’ai rencontré Mungo Thomson avec lequel je vais bientôt collaborer. Il y a aussi l’estate de Wallace Berman que je représente depuis 2009, artiste que j’avais découvert lors de l’exposition « Los Angeles 1955-1985 » au Centre Pompidou. En ce qui concerne l’actualité des artistes de la galerie à LA ces temps-ci – Davide Balula chez François Ghebaly et Bernard Piffaretti chez Cherry & Martin – ce sont des projets qui étaient en germe depuis un moment et qui se sont cristallisés au moment de Ceci n’est pas… mais ils auraient eu lieu de toute façon. Matt Connors tenait à montrer Piffaretti à LA et il a réussi à convaincre son galeriste Philip Martin. François Ghebaly suivait le travail de Balula depuis un moment et les choses se sont faites naturellement. Los Angeles, c’est l’Amérique que j’aime, ce côté « vraie Amérique » que l’on ne ressent plus à New York qui est trop cosmopolite, trop babélienne pour cela. On ne cesse d’entendre parler d’une migration des artistes américains vers Los Angeles… Los Angeles, c’est un peu le Berlin des États- Unis. Ce sont toutes deux des villes très étalées, des villes horizontales, qui s’opposent à la verticalité de la côte Est. En discutant avec les artistes, on apprend que ce qui les attire ici c’est la possibilité de l’expérimentation, de travailler dans de grands ateliers sans la pression constante du marché qu’ils ressentent à New York. Il y a moins de compétition à l’Ouest et il est beaucoup plus facile d’y produire des pièces importantes ; la vie y est tellement moins chère et tellement plus agréable… Justement, y a-t-il un vrai marché de l’art à Los Angeles ? Pas vraiment. J’aurais tendance à dire que c’est à Los Angeles qu’on fabrique l’art mais que c’est à New York qu’on le vend. Il n’y a pas ici de middle class de collectionneurs, peu de médecins, avocats qui achètent des pièces à 15 000 ou 20 000 dollars. D’ailleurs Los Angeles, comme Berlin, n’accueille pas de grande foire. Art Los Angeles Contemporary ressemble plus à une foire parallèle qu’à une véritable main fair. Cette année, on y voyait trop de Californie, trop de couleurs fluo… Paris Photo LA, avec son repositionnement sur la moving image est attendue avec impatience par les galeries locales comme étrangères. Et puis sa localisation dans les studios Paramount est une excellente idée. – Davide Balula Air Drawings of the Guggenheim, 2013. Performance. Photo : Julia Trotta. Courtesy François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles. What connects the Frank Elbaz gallery to Los Angeles ? It all started in 2005 when Kaz Oshiro’s work caught my eye in the exhibition « Thing, New Sculptures from Los Angeles » at the Hammer Museum. It was through him that I subsequently met Mungo Thomson, whom I would then be working with before long. There’s also the Wallace Berman estate, which I’ve been representing since 2009— an artist I discovered at the show Los Angeles 1955-1985 at the Centre Pompidou. Regarding the current shows of the artists of the gallery in LA—Davide Balula at François Ghebaly and Bernard Piffaretti at Cherry & Martin—these are projects which had been germinating for a while, and came together around the time of Ceci n’est pas…, but they would have happened anyway. Matt Connors was keen to show Piffaretti’s work to LA and he managed to persuade his gallery owner, Philip Martin. François Ghebaly had been following Balula’s work for a moment and things took their natural course. Los Angeles is the America I love, with its « true America » thing, which you no longer feel in New York, which is too cosmopolitan, too Babel-like for that. We’re forever hearing about a migration of American artists to Los Angeles… Los Angeles is a bit like the Berlin of the United States. They’re both very sprawling, 55 horizontal cities, in contrast with the verticality of the East Coast. When you talk with artists, you understand that what attracts them here is the possibility of experimentation, and working in big studios without the constant market pressure they feel in New York. There’s less competition in the west, and it’s much easier to produce large pieces ; life is so much cheaper and so much more pleasant… Is there in fact a real art market in Los Angeles ? Not really. I’d say that people produce art in Los Angeles, and sell it in New York. There’s no middle class of collectors here, not many doctors and lawyers who buy works for $15,000 or $20,000. What’s more, like Berlin, Los Angeles has no major art fair. Art Los Angeles Contemporary is more like an alternative fair than a real mainstream one. This year there was too much California on view, too many dayglo colours… By refocusing on the moving image, Paris Photo LA is being impatiently awaited by local and foreign galleries alike. And its location in the Paramount Studios is an excellent idea. * Galerie Frank Elbaz, 66 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris.

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