Setting: L.A. is the outside, and in this press release, BSSM the agent, the penetrator.
When I was asked to write this, I faced the inevitable and immediately realized that it was impossible to think about BSSM-L.A. as separate. Well, fortunately for me, we don’t have to fight anything here, as their collision into one impossible word seems inevitable; and as all fate-bound things in life, their merging avoids civil, agreeable, pronunciation. (Look on the bright side: We don’t have to deal with the infamous shattering that naming never fails to deliver.)
Image: A girl in red liquid next to a sugary floor, delimited by the essence of Spinoza which is, in turn, contained in clear glass while Sex hangs around as tension, as pressure.
Why do I write BSSM? Because as ‘Los Angeles’, or better, ‘ The Angels’; ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik’ is a ‘title’ that by overexposure, paradoxically, has turn into a solid, too-visible thing. And moreover, perhaps by abbreviation, by establishing?CAPTCHA–like structures, BSSM-L.A. might just shape up another set of greatest-hits, or will grant us the freedom to say ‘No, thanks’ to the gorgeous option of embracing exasperation.
It would be great if Sex wasn’t salty and Magik a quotidian aspect, or Blood run stripped from its trajectory. It would be great if L.A. became A.L. and in that inversion the winged could be reclaimed… And everyone had to put up with our idiosyncrasies. Right? But, let’s not get carried away here, as this analysis might appear to reduce the artists’ works to mere formalist manifestations or to the symptomatic.
Instead, let’s shoot for logic and ask ourselves: Can Spinoza fill a glass container? Is the deterministic girl in the bathtub imparting a type of unity with the liquidity of her context, until she can engage the neighboring, summoned, (and complying) Baruch in the discussion? Or will photography and sugar cast an inevitable layer of suspicion on the ever-shaky and yet tectonic platform that our gaze offers? Is the melancholia inherent in those burnt telephone numbers, or in Magik, Sex, Blood, Sugar, something more than an obsessive script? Might be that those numbers and those words re-present the condition of the present? As dialing/burning/Magik promise immediate results; and Sugar, Sex, or Blood imply the right-now, the in-the-moment transit? What about the consequences of punctuation, action, or the unfolding of texts? Can this CAPTCHA account for the spectrum that BSSM-L.A. generates? Or rather, can I be clear?
-Diego Singh, Miami, March, 2012.
Jen DeNike (born 1971 in Norwalk, Conneticut, lives and works in New York). She received her MFA from Bard College in 2002. Her work has has been exhibited internationally including exhibitions at Art Basel: Art Public with Mendes Wood, MoMA and MoMA PS1, KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, The Brooklyn Museum, Tensta Konsthall Stockholm, Julia Stoschek Collection, CAMH Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and Deichtorhallen Hamburg. A selection of photographic works will be presented by DUVE Berlin at Zona Maco in Mexico City this April, and at the Photography Festival in NYC curated by Amy Smith-Stewart. A selection of her videos are currently on view in the new Media Lounge at MOMA. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Julia Stoschek Collection, and IL Giardino dei Lauri Collection. Her second solo exhibition is slated for October at The Company.
Amie Dicke (born 1978 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, lives and works in Amsterdam) Dicke’s work has been exhibited throughout the world, including the Tate Modern, London, FLAG Art Foundation, New York, Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan, Zabludowicz Collection, London, Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, Museum van Loon, Amsterdam, John Connelly Presents, New York, Peres Projects, Berlin, Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdan and Hiromi Yoshi Gallery, Tokyo. Her work is in the permanent collections of Museum Het Domein, Sittard; The Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem; City Collection of Rotterdam through the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. She has been widely reviewed and featured in publications including ArtForum, Numero, V Magazine, i-D, Art Monthly, Elle, Dazed & Confused, The Independent, Metro Life, and The Sunday Telegraph. Artimo recently published a monograph of her work entitled “Void”. Amie has previously shown in Los Angeles in 2003 and 2008 with Peres Projects.
Robert Mapplethorpe (born 1946 in Floral Park, NY, died 1989 in Boston, MA) Mapplethorpe attended the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, in 1963, where he studied painting and sculpture and received his B.F.A. in 1970. It was not Mapplethorpe’s original intention to be a photographer, and from 1970 to 1974, he mainly made assemblage constructions that incorporate images of men from pornographic magazines with found objects and painting. In order to create his own images for these collages, Mapplethorpe turned to photography, initially using a Polaroid SX-70 camera. Mapplethorpe had his first substantial shows in 1977, both in New York: an exhibition of photographs of flowers at the Holly Solomon Gallery and one of male nudes and sadomasochistic imagery at the Kitchen. In 1988, four major exhibitions of his work were organized: by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; and the National Portrait Gallery, London. Mapplethorpe died due to complications from AIDS in 1989.
Dane Mitchell (born 1976 in Auckland, New Zealand, lives and works in Auckland and Berlin). Mitchell has shown extensively internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include Radiant Matter I, Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand; Minor Optics, daadgalerie, Berlin, Germany; Conjuring Form, Art Statements Art39Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Invocations, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia; A Guest, A Host, Galerie West, Den Haag, The Netherlands; A Abrigo, A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Collaborative projects include Whitney Bedford and Dane Mitchell, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles, USA (2011) and The Story of a Window (with Matt Keegan), Neon Parc, Melbourne, Australia (2010). He was a 2009/2010 resident on the Berliner Künstlerprogramm DAAD, Berlin, Germany; 2010 resident at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, NZ and visiting artist at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin, NZ in 2011; Artist in residence at Gasworks, London, 2008. Forthcoming exhibitions include Liverpool Biennale 2012, UK; Gwangju Biennale, Korea; Contact, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany.
Carlos Sandoval de Leon (born 1975 in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Lives and Works in New York City and Miami, Florida) Sandoval de Leon received a BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1999 and an MFA in sculpture in 2008 from Columbia University. His works have been exhibited at El Museo del Bario, New York, the de Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA, Mendes Wood, Brazil, De la Cruz Collection, Miami, Sikkema Jenkins & Co, New York, Artist Space, New York and the Fisher Landau Center for Art, Long Island City. In 2010, he received the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant.
This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the Netherlands Cultural Services