In the cavernous former movie theater that makes the main gallery of Human Resources, performance artist MPA has hung a lunar calendar, following the phases of the moon for the duration of the exhibition the work finds itself in. Curated by artist and Human Resources collective member Chiara Giovando, the premise of the thematic exhibition, “Gap, Mark, Sever, and Return”, is that of the “series”, the way interconnected works can mark time, to organize, to build.
The documented course of time in MPA’s calendar touches upon what it means to make a series, in its simplest of terms. Beautifully printed, the moon calendar appears next to the back ends of Nike missiles (post-War anti-aircraft rockets decommissioned in the 1970s) and perforated by the impact of bullet holes, as the calendar was used as target sheets. For every day of the duration of the exhibition, a print is changed to serve its function of a calendar. I like to think, that MPA’s calendar use of the tail ends of Nike missiles comment on the race to produce machines concurrent with the moon-race, itself an aspect of the Cold War, even a poetic manifestation of the self, as MPA comments on an essay written by the curator:
“All this desire, the desire machine. The desire to make space, desire to expand, the explosion is a condensed moment into our order to move out.”
There’s an energy force present in MPA’s marks, of standing in the precise center of the space where she’s placed a bullet directly into the concrete floor, an energy that’s evoked by the other artists in the show.
Erika Vogt has covered the upstairs gallery floors with 800 panels of plaster for a site specific installation, Sounded Out, that, as it’s continually stepped on by visitors, begins to dissolve into its initial material. The shattered plaster carpet subtly evokes to the imagination ancient ruins, all that is left is debris. Along the walls, a collage of her series Notes on Currency IOU (Human Resources LA) serves as a guide to the activation of the space, fort-like even.
Mandla Reuter’s invisible architecture in a plot of land he bought, atop a hill in Montecito Heights is documented through the postal service in “No Such Street”, when he attempts to mail a letter there, but also by shipping dirt that occupies the land, to Europe and Miami for upcoming shows, in a representation of archiving, to document the existence of such topography.
Gap, Mark, Sever, Return, Installation view; Courtesy of the artists and Human Resources, Los Angeles
Reuter also quietly meddled with the lights, having them flicker throughout the space at different intervals. The lighting intervention of the space playfully evokes some works while it silences others, continually giving each corner in sight its deserved attention. At first, without having read the list of works, I believed the lights were suffering a malfunction, rather than being altered. Perhaps my innocent foolishness, but the fact that to my luck, “One Million Years”, a 16mm film by Reuter which had to be playing in infinite loop had lost a bulb from the projector, suffering its own technical difficulty, gave the illusion of a pattern in the technical problems, feeling almost divine in its origin.
In the vein of documentation, or the archive, artist Fiona Connor hired four professional photographers to document the exhibition in ways to gap and open the discourse of representation; a misrepresentation that does not only exist with the viewer, but with institutions and more concrete entities.
Connor is known to comment on the tangible sensibilities of architecture or design as sculpture to permeate our experiences of space. For the show, she has placed a replica of an almost archetypal drinking water fountain that occupy several public parks through Los Angeles. She coined this mundane bureaucratic aesthetic: Found Minimalism. The acid blue, ninety-degree angle water fountain serves its purpose, but even its anonymous mechanic reproducibility is undermined by the way these structures quietly age, rusting, crumbling.
(Image on top: Installation shot of Erika Vogt's Notes on Currency IOU (Human Resources LA) and Sounded Out, 2012; Courtesy of the artist and Human Resources, Los Angeles.)