“We made life here for a little while”
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to announce an off-site exhibition by Olga Koumoundouros entitled “We made life here for a little while,” which opens on Sunday, November 17 from 3 to 6 PM. The artist presents an installation at the previously lived-in and now vacated home of Susanne and Jost Vielmetter, located at 495 Alameda Street in Altadena. Comprising clay sculptures, layered abstractions of paint spanning the interior walls and ceiling, and excisions cut through the existing structure, this intervention acts as part-monument and part-graveyard.
Koumoundouros’s installation interprets the Vielmetter family’s 13-year life in the house through the lens of her own psychosocial stakes in single-family homeownership. The house is pared back to a simpler state, one foregrounding the body’s occupation of the space without the bulk of stylistic accouterments accumulated in the facilitation of daily life. Numerous clay works—imprints of men, women, and children—have been produced in situ and are fused into the house’s surface with layers of paint. By inserting the bodies of her family and friends into the space as negative forms, Koumoundouros attempts to reclaim the history of this idiosyncratically built home, one indicative of California hillside living in Altadena, before its eventual demolition at the end of November.
In her work, Koumoundouros has explored a wide range of issues relating to homeownership, and she has consistently returned to the home as a readymade, to be altered and enlivened through her personal concerns. Here the artist addresses a post-recession reality, where lower income homebuyers are edged out of the market for years to come. As a counteraction, Koumoundouros gathers the stories and rituals surrounding the house – and places herself, together with her friends and family, into her gallerist’s home, thus fusing elements of her personal life as an artist and her relationship with her gallery with the narratives that live in the history of this house. A book that collects the oral histories of the various inhabitants and visitors of the house will be distributed alongside the exhibition, and a copy will be embedded within the walls of the new structure to be built on the site.
Koumoundouros received her MFA from the California Institute for the Arts in 2001. Selected solo exhibitions include: Tang Museum at Skidmore College (with Andrea Bowers), Saratoga Springs, NY; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA; and REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Armory Center for the Arts, Los Angeles; Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND), Los Angeles, CA; “Greater LA” New York, NY; Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City, Utah; Project Row Houses, Houston, TX; 18th Street Projects, Santa Monica, CA; the Banff Centre Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Canada; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; LAXART, Los Angeles, CA; Glassell School of Art, Houston, TX; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; and the Schindler House, Los Angeles, CA.