The new works stem from the artist’s recent examination of the relationship between the Hollywood entertainment industry and the Ennis House in Los Angeles, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The exhibition’s title is borrowed from the name of a fictional soap opera which appears in the TV series Twin Peaks. In this show-within-a-show, the Ennis House appears as a setting but also later served as the inspiration for the entrance of Club Silencio, an imaginary location within another Lynch production, Mulholland Drive (2001). Characterized by manic repetition and immoderate excess of Mayan Revival architecture, the building has been featured a variety of films, including House on Haunted Hill (1959), The Day of the Locust (1975), Blade Runner (1982) and Rush Hour (1998), schizophrenically assuming the skin of a variety of plot lines.
While having appeared in movies and television productions as a fantastical setting, the real Ennis House is in a state of decay and devaluation. Over the years, the structure has survived several beatings, first the 1994 Northridge earthquake and later the torrential rains of 2004. A drama of its own has built around the life of the Ennis House, ranging from myriad structural problems to a long series of owners, all the way to its current fight for preservation and historic acclaim. Yet the house still exists as a virtual entity – occupying a multiplicity of time periods and locales within our collective consciousness. Here, Röhss’s sculptures, paintings and installations work together to construct a mediated version of the site, while simultaneously eliciting its very physical deterioration. Casts and imprints of ornamental elements and images of its environment were culled from the spectrum of media in which the house has appeared and have been dizzyingly repeated throughout the works, amplifying the structure’s eccentricity. Eccentricity, not only as an exceptional building in relation to other houses, nor as a quirky home relative to normative SoCal domesticity, but as a character or animate being in its own right fueled by the many real and fictive events that have taken place under its roof.
“Invitation to Love” is the third part in a trilogy of exhibitions that play off of the multifarious life of the Ennis House. The first was mounted at Johan Berggren, Malmo, Sweden (August 27 – September 26, 2015). The second iteration is currently on view at SALTS, Basel, Switzerland, through January 28, 2016.
Invitation to Love by Emanuel Röhss
Thomas Duncan Gallery, Los Angeles
Through 19 February