Two Ships Passing
At the core of the exhibition stands one particular circumstance: when two vessels pass each other in their domestic waters. Created with their own depicted fluid, two large-scale salted paper prints represent this specific occurrence in both Chinese and American waters. Brandt’s act of juxtaposing this simple circumstance creates a shared cultural meeting point.
At the entrance to the gallery a sign reads, “For your safety do not touch the artwork,” warning visitors of the exposed electrical current running through the etched copper picture planes. These photographs of urban Hunan China, the birthplace of Mao Zedong, are circuit boards. This technology was once dominated by US manufactures, today it is primarily produced in China. The electricity courses through the conduit skirting around large-scale photographs of American Lake in Tacoma, Washington, chromogenic prints soaked in the lake water. The electrical current leads to a single original Edison Company bulb (circa late 1800s), now a symbolic relic of technologic innovation and industrial procedures that have helped define America as a super power. Uninterested in resurrecting arguments about Chinese-US relations, Matthew Brandt creates a platform depicting two places, two bodies, and where they meet.
Born in Los Angeles in 1982, Matthew Brandt received his BFA from Cooper Union in 2004 and MFA from The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2008. His work has recently been exhibited in New York, reviewed in the New Yorker and his precocious talent has landed him in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Armand Hammer Museum (Los Angeles) and the Elton John Collection. Brandt currently lives and works in Los Angeles.
This exhibition is part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945–1980, a Getty initiative that brings together more than sixty cultural institutions from across Southern California to examine the history of contemporary art in Los Angeles.