Magazine article Artforum International

Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin: Regen Projects

Magazine article Artforum International

Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin: Regen Projects

Article excerpt

As if in perverse celebration of Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin's near decade and a half of collaboration, three monstrously contorted epicene odalisque sculptures, painted in opalescent jewel tones, occupied the reception area of their first solo exhibition at Regen Projects. These sculptures, Animation Abuse #1-3 (all works 2014), were a telling preamble. Before entering any of the show's three video installations, or "sculptural theaters," as the artists call them, one had to confront the two terms of their invented medium separately. First, sculpture: the three ambiguously sexed figures, almost decorative in their horrific distortions, and equally incomprehensible from every possible view. Second, theater: the reception area made over into a playhouse lobby with burgundy high-pile carpeting, dark-turquoise walls, and an atmospheric soundscape redolent of New Age spas, planetariums, and theme-park queuing areas. These components immediately and clearly established the model of viewing appropriate to Fitch and Trecartin's sculptural theater--deep immersion lacking a privileged point of view. When you are a millennial, or "digital native," postmodernism is a given and the society of the spectacle your native environment.

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By now, Fitch and Trecartin have perfected in their videos a pop-culture mannerism in which characters isolate and exaggerate the language, gestures, and fashion of juvenile mass culture and transform their appearances and demeanors at will. The duo's latest body of work here explicitly drew upon prior thematics of surveillance and post-apocalyptic survival. The largest sculptural theater, Ledge, occupied a gallery whose walls were curtained in light-blue athletic mesh, and whose floors were furbished with antislip rubber tiles. An immense, camping-tent-like canopy dome sheltered a metal platform furnished with contoured loungers and rotating ottomans, ripstop-nylon pillows, and fabricated mats that looked eerily like body bags. Viewers were surrounded by a six-channel video in which groups of androgynes costumed in Jurassic Park T-shirts, Day-Glo sportswear, and various forms of female drag wander a "disaster center" worrying about where to shit, where to get drugs, and who pissed in the liquor bottle. …

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