Los Angeles is often referred to through clichés related to its climate, to Hollywood and to lifestyle in general, but there is another side to Los Angeles, a darker side, which has to do with the complexity of society in terms of race and class. It is also a place where most of our global entertainment is being conceived and a city that has produced impressive universities and art schools and enjoys a vibrant art and cultural scene. Los Angeles is a city with a flourishing diversity of artists who have created their own visions and artistic languages within the same social and geographical environment, but which have taken them on different routes.
Los Angeles has always been a land of mythologies. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, real-estate developers launched a campaign to get people to move to the city. Referred to as “Arcadia”, a land of sun and ocean breeze, it was offered as the answer to the perfect life. Hollywood (its famous sign an old real-estate hoarding) came later, becoming the “dream factory”. Today, Los Angeles is surrounded by stories that place the city on the floating frontiers between fiction and reality.
“Los Angeles: A Fiction” presents a selection of these stories to create a subjective view of Los Angeles where a multitude of narratives generate a flowing synergy between the artworks. The spectator is invited to experience them visually but also intellectually and sensually, “reading” and discovering within each of the works its own specific narrative. We have chosen to look at the city of Los Angeles both through the works of visual artists and through the texts of writers and poets living and working in Los Angeles, works that give a fictional view nourished by reality.The artists in the exhibition range from those whose famous works have become synonymous with Los Angeles to younger figures who, in their own time, are representing their experiences of the city. In the form of a book, we also present a subjective selection of literature written in or about Los Angeles over the last 50 years. Excerpts from these writings are organized so that they, in turn, tell a story that acts as an amplification of the artworks. These literary texts written in or about Los Angeles emphasise the fictional nature of the exhibition.
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS: Kelly Akashi, Kenneth Anger, John Baldessari, Math Bass, Larry Bell, Billy Al Bengston, Brian Calvin, Meg Cranston, John Divola, Hannah Greely, Samara Golden, David Hockney, Evan Holloway, Robert Irwin, Alex Israel, Stanya Kahn, William Leavitt, Nancy Lupo, Tala Madani, Paul McCarthy, Rodney McMillian, Nicole Miller, Michele O’Marah, Catherine Opie, Laura Owens, Charles Ray, Ed Ruscha, Alexis Smith, Martine Syms, Henry Taylor, Ryan Trecartin/Lizzie Fitch, Kaari Upson and Jonas Wood.
Los Angeles: A Fiction
Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo
Through January 22
Photo credit: Christian Øen.