LOS ANGELES — When requested by Martha Wilson about the affinity for contradiction inside his operate in a 1996 BOMB journal job interview, artist Pope.L pointed to his very own family members encounters as a single clue, noting how the “desire to keep issues jointly,” retained coming in conflict with “this inclination for issues to tumble aside.” Relatively than settle for these impulses as mutually exceptional and in opposition, Pope.L, who is regarded for his gonzo interventions into art and lifetime, dives into the tensions, curious as to how 1 makes which means in just these a shifting and unstable ecosystem. He embraces contradiction and nonsense as but 1 strategy of partaking with our social realities and understanding how these realities are structured by ideologies like racism, consumerism, and more.
I assumed about Pope.L’s desire to “produce a world or object with these forms of tensions,” as he discussed to Wilson, even though browsing The Ritual Is For All of us, the artist’s next solo exhibition at Vielmetter Los Angeles. Spanning video, projection, objects, and paintings, The Ritual Is for All of us features yet another look at into Pope.L’s famous durational practice. While he is frequently connected to his “Crawl” collection — public performances that identified the artist dragging his body across the asphalt of the New York Metropolis streets from a person spot to a different — Pope.L’s follow resists categorization, flitting from theater to creating to visible artwork with a mischievous glee. Whether he’s employing a VHS digital camera or located objects, his operate considers the slipperiness of language and time, inviting the viewer into absurdist encounters that go away us contemplating our individual views and social ailments.
When I entered Vielmetter, I was greeted by a collection of sheds, organized during the area like a deconstructed maze, building improvised pathways and edges. A dripping seem filled the gallery as I inspected the sheds, unsure of what I was looking at or for. I circled the box until eventually encountering a aspect with a beige curtain and stepped into a dark dice, my interest drawn to a video clip taking part in on one of the walls. “Shed Film” (2006–2022) was shot on pre-superior definition mini DV, and follows a nonlinear stream-of-visuals. 1 thread fears two figures in hazmat satisfies investigating mulch near a backyard garden mattress, their motion intercut with close-ups of pastel flowers and scenes of two masked figures chatting in a dank condominium. The display would then minimize to an extreme near-up of a bleeding eye, with my overall body sinking each and every time, the same feeling I really feel when witnessing a soar scare in a horror movie.
As I stopped by every get rid of, sure images reappeared like nagging ghosts. A lot of videos feature performers donning vinyl Condoleezza Rice or Donald Rumsfeld masks. The bleeding eye, for occasion, returned in “APHOV” (2005–2022), which characteristics a performer in a Rumsfeld mask and their fingers painted black, tinkering with a miniature sinking ship whilst crying bloody tears. “The Collective” (2007–2022) unfurled like a bizarro spouse and children sitcom, with the drama (or comedy?) centering on two masked Condeleezas pontificating about the ’70s clearly show Fantastic Instances, though an additional masked few engaged in a messy kink ritual in the basement. The films scaled a medley of tones, at after goofy, deranged, heartfelt, and roundabout.
The sheds were joined by two sets of wall-primarily based function — acrylic paintings on paper with shiny, slurry text and a assortment of Salisbury baked bean cans contained in handmade gray compression boxes. Equally echo ongoing assignments, Pores and skin Established and The Black Manufacturing facility respectively, incorporating a further layer of durational energy to the exhibition. Skin Established: Calendar features the identical poetic fragment prepared in blocky letters, the textual content careening joyously into illegibility. Most had been dated in 2020, but some boasted titles with foreseeable future decades like 2025. No matter whether expanding time by means of the Get rid of films or baffling it as in the Calendar paintings, Pope.L plays with the instability of time and exhibits how tapping into this instability can unlock artistic shifts in pondering.
His experiments with time and language converse this will need to disrupt the codified rhythms of our day-to-day existence. Like his other durational perform, The Ritual Is For All of us confronts us with other modes of being, peeling again the constricting hierarchies that manage our life. In the BOMB interview, Pope.L defined he needed to produce “works that let persons to enter on their own, therefore, enter the mess,” of our earth. That’s how I felt engaging with the sheds scattered during the gallery — like I was encountering the mess of our US fact and experienced to assemble methods of generating this means out of the chaos.
The Ritual Is for All of us carries on at Vielmetter Los Angeles (1700 South Santa Fe Avenue, #101, Downtown, Los Angeles) as a result of July 23. The exhibition was organized by the gallery.