LOS ANGELES — Scent is an insidious factor. It creeps into the physique, an involuntary invasion, summoning reminiscences unbidden. It is an intangible medium, as phenomenological as it’s conceptual, encompassing concepts as disparate because the Anthropocene and identification politics with a definite porosity. “As each inhalation brings in a small portion of the outside world, scents disrupt the traditional distinctions between the environment and bodies, self and other, nature and culture,” factors out critic and curator Jim Drobnick, who writes extensively concerning the senses in artwork.
Like scent, Sean Raspet’s current solo exhibition at Varied Small Fires works its method via the viewer’s psyche virtually imperceptibly. At first, it looks like a sterile presentation of nature: outdoors within the courtyard, morning glory vines climb three rectangular trellises as if in a minimalist triptych; contained in the white gallery partitions, every planter is hung neatly in a row, spaced out simply so; within the subsequent room is a canister filled with carbon dioxide; and on the very again, an unobtrusive panel of moss, slowly puffing out a faint whiff of patchouli. However slowly, the aesthetic pleasure at seeing the curlicues of plant tendrils provides method to questions comparable to, What does it imply to exhibit nature? Why are civilization and nature framed as diametrically opposed to each other? And who’s taking good care of these crops, and the way did they get right here?
Rereading the press launch reveals carbon (elevated, circulated, and captured) to be the fabric focus of the exhibition, and that the crops are the results of experiments, carried out by the artist, to create genetic mutations that might assist them higher adapt to altering local weather circumstances. Although it could be troublesome to parse out this info upon first look, by embracing a subtler strategy, Raspet underlines how these essential political points are additionally embedded within the very air we breathe.
Sean Raspet continues at Varied Small Fires (812 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles) via September 11.
With works about scholar protests in India, colonialism in South Korea, the historical past of trains in cinema, and extra, this version of Wavelengths is the pageant’s finest in years.
The intense views offered by orators are veiled by their adoption of design aesthetics typical of newscasters.
The protest relaunch will kick off per week of actions and organizing main up to a city-wide motion on September 17 below the slogan “Globalize the Intifada.”