Artist: LaKela Brown
Venue: Lars Friedrich, Berlin
Date: January 10 – February 17, 2018
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Lars Friedrich, Berlin
Abstraction is something that takes place in the mind as well as in the material reality of our lives. It’s not just that we read signs and they are meaningful, that we see images and they might hurt us. The reality of abstraction is that we essentially think about ourselves in terms of the money we make as defining the value we have. Certain forms of confidence can be directly translated into numbers attached to bank accounts, which are at the same time both abstract and often all too concrete. The reality of abstraction in everyday life is not just that of art being true to itself, but of us counting on it to tell us who we are, and how much.
LaKela Brown’s first solo show at Lars Friedrich plays with several forms of the reality of the abstract, from casting real objects in plaster to making coins, from the modernist grid to the forms in which we mediate (social) history. Her sculptural and relief works are often divided regularly in a non-hierarchical display of limited varying forms: earrings, rope-chain, ornamented and heavy expressions of worth and self-valuing, as well as identifying marks like those of the artist’s teeth. In these, a sense of forensic evidence is juxtaposed with playful adornment, radicalizing the question of whether who you are is where you came from (and if you can escape that). Whose formalism, the plaster casts seem to ask, playing on a subtle subjectivity reminiscent of Agnes Martin; and whose visual punch lines, the David Hammons-inspired “chicken heads.”
LaKela Brown’s work subsumes these elements into one method and material, suspending distinctions between fake and real, relaying a different kind of value, one that lies in different forms of representation.