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Mike Kelley
at Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, California
Recommendation by G. James Daichendt


Mike Kelley, ''Kandor 18 B,'' 2010, foam coated with Elastomer, blown glass with water-based resin coating, tinted Urethane resin, wood, found objects, lighting fixture, 87 x 36 x 48'.

 

Videos and large-scale sculptures by Mike Kelley are conceptually diverse and physically refined. A combination of obscure references to pop culture and invisible histories (or what Kelly calls Folk Performances), the show is dizzying as one travels through the labyrinth of art. The subject matter is a combination of two long-standing projects: the “Kandor” series and “Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction (EAPR).” Kandor is the fictitious city and former capitol of Superman’s home planet Krypton. It was miniaturized in the DC comics and several variations of this city make appearances throughout Kelley’s installation. The most notable creations glow from within and resemble the Emerald City from the 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz.” Additional versions are more like modern city centers complete with skyscrapers. Since, the history of Kantor is incomplete, it’s an applied construction of a peculiar subject. 
The “EAPR” works are the most noticeable upon entering the space. Props from the videos invite one to sit and explore while two versions of this film play on opposite sides of the gallery. The subjects and context of each video are consistent, including a single male character and his harem. Their subsequent interactions resemble a local theatre acting out a range of scenes. In the first video the male plays a lord while in the second, he is a bumbling servant. The interplay is an allegory of sorts. To encourage dialogue between the “Kandor” and “EAPR” works, the space is carefully arranged with theatrical-like props from both worlds. The videos also include clips of Kandor in-between the Harem scenes. Altogether, they are not consistent; similar to a curate’s egg but the inconsistencies are part of this fragmentation and manipulation of ideas that Kelley is prone to create.Videos and large-scale sculptures by Mike Kelley are conceptually diverse and physically refined. A combination of obscure references to pop culture and invisible histories (or what Kelly calls Folk Performances), the show is dizzying as one travels through the labyrinth of art. The subject matter is a combination of two long-standing projects: the “Kandor” series and “Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction (EAPR).” Kandor is the fictitious city and former capitol of Superman’s home planet Krypton. It was miniaturized in the DC comics and several variations of this city make appearances throughout Kelley’s installation. The most notable creations glow from within and resemble the Emerald City from the 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz.” Additional versions are more like modern city centers complete with skyscrapers. Since, the history of Kantor is incomplete, it’s an applied construction of a peculiar subject.

The “EAPR” works are the most noticeable upon entering the space. Props from the videos invite one to sit and explore while two versions of this film play on opposite sides of the gallery. The subjects and context of each video are consistent, including a single male character and his harem. Their subsequent interactions resemble a local theatre acting out a range of scenes. In the first video the male plays a lord while in the second, he is a bumbling servant. The interplay is an allegory of sorts. To encourage dialogue between the “Kandor” and “EAPR” works, the space is carefully arranged with theatrical-like props from both worlds. The videos also include clips of Kandor in-between the Harem scenes. Altogether, they are not consistent; similar to a curate’s egg but the inconsistencies are part of this fragmentation and manipulation of ideas that Kelley is prone to create.

Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2011

 

Gagosian Gallery

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