Mike Kelley, Still from Extracurricular Projective Reconstruction #34 (The King and Us/The Queens and Me) (2010). Via Gagosian
Mike Kelley rages ahead at the Gagosian, expanding on projects from his infamous show at the gallery’s New York hub, titled Day is Done, in 2005. Exhibiting for the first time at the L.A. Gagosian, Kelley presents Kandor 10/Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction, #34 Kandor 12/Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #35, a combination of two earlier works, Kandors (1999) and Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction (EAPR) (2006). Recently known for exemplifying what art critic Jerry Saltz coined as “clusterfuck aesthetics,” Kelley continues his explorations of the grotesque pop cultural diaspora. The titling of this new show alone indicates Kelley’s continued interest in clusterfuck art: the scrambled code of his earlier works, barely intelligible key words that read like an internet pop up.
Mike Kelley, Kandor 18 B (2010). Via Gagosian
More text and images after the jump…
The Kandors series imagines Superman’s native city, Krypton. In the comic books Krypton is never consistently illustrated, its fragmented nature the point of departure for Kelley’s sculptures. Kelley has made multiple versions of Krypton, all of which are embedded with a reliquary-like quality. They are precious, Kelley’s Kryptons, but also seethe with a dark quality. Like much of his work, the Kandors solicits the somber from our collective past. Working with nostalgic themes, the narratives of the American yesteryear, Kelley highlights the potentially evil. The Kandors places Superman, one of the most recognizable American stories, under his black light. Kelley doesn’t draw any conclusions about Superman or its effect on the American psyche in his work—rather it is the hypothetical, the possibilities of Krypton, that tug on our collective origins.
Mike Kelley, Kandor 19 B (2010). Via Gagosian
Kelley’s EAPR series, first shown at Day is Done in 2005, draw on a similar, formative American memory. The videos derive from what Kelley refers to as “folk performances,” everyday spectacles documented in photographs in local newspapers and yearbooks. The two videos in EAPR #34 are taken from images of a school or community play, in which a “royal” male character presides over a female harem. In another, a female queen character humiliates a male servant. EAPR #35 is solely a group of gnome characters moving about aimlessly in a cell. Both works are shown at the Gagosian with their original sets. Kelley again brings up the repressed, often disturbing images from the collective past. Pulled from narrative, EAPR #34 questions how we publicly perform, and subsequently control, gender. In Kelley’s hands, isolated from the original source and re-performed, it is a surreal and sinister vision of our shared fables. The gnomes perhaps, simply run around aimlessly like a suburban daydream.
Mike Kelley, Odalisque (2010). Via Gagosian