When we heard rumors buzzing about a "LOST" themed art exhibition, we were worried we'd have to revisit the epic television series' loose ends once again; the pain of seeing a smoke monster installation or a polar bear etching would be too great. Then we heard Palais de Tokyo's elusive director Marc-Olivier Wahler was in charge of the exhibition, entitled, "LOST (in LA)." Suddenly we doubted Hurley would be making an appearance.
The exhibition explores the highs and lows of the series in an ambitious attempt to create alternate connections between time and space. Wahler saw this vision of layered dimensions come to life in Los Angeles, where any notion of a city center gets lost in the flashing billboards, giant palm trees and melting freeways. As the gallery put it, "On this hill located between the Hollywood sign, Venice Beach, South Central and Downtown LA, these different layers of time and space intercept, connect, disconnect and reconnect again."
The experience of navigating "LOST (in LA)" is akin to journeying outside a crashed airplane in a purgatory-esque tropical island, or attempting to find where La Cienega and Sunset intersect. There is no compass; we must serve as our own guides, forming relationships and navigating a new, fluid terrain.
The project is presented by FLAX (France Los Angeles Exchange) in an effort to bring French artists abroad. The ambitious show combines French household names like André Breton, René Magritte, and Man Ray with contemporary artists from Paris and LA including Thomas Hirschhorn, Mathieu Mercier, Mike Kelley, Vincent Lamouroux, and Marnie Weber. We spoke to Wahler to find out more about bringing the city of love to the city of angels. See the interview after the slideshow below.
HP: First question: were you a big fan of the TV show?
MW: Not really... One thing I really love about "LOST" are these layers of time and space, and how the layers of time and space multipy. It would be so great if they found the formal link, where you could formalize the transition from one layer to another. It would have been so great if they had found this missing link... The show started with a conversation and we tried to search even if the answer is impossible. We're thinking of the exhibition as a search engine, not really a themed show.
HP: How did the connection arise between the hit TV show and the dialogue between artists in Europe and the U.S.?
MW: The exhibition is really an exchange with French artists and Los Angeles artists. What I really like about LA is my whole concept [of layered time and space] is based on this type of city. in Europe you have a city with a center -- a fixed point in time and space. In Los Angeles there is no fixed point; it's a model for the future. In space there is no fixed point. Even our brains function as a constant flow and circuit between synapses. For me, LA is a city in which there is no time and space. The way you see depends on where you walk. Same with this show -- you go past an artwork and you link it with a neighboring one. It's really an LA experience. You walk by, you come back, you cross. It's about the flow. I wanted to build a kind of exhibition where things flow and you have the courage to walk, not just stand.
HP: What is one of your favorite works from the exhibition?
MW: One is definitely the work by Vincent Lamouroux. He did the whole ceiling like an undulating structure that binds the whole architecture. Because some ceilings are lower than others, he basically creates a structure that makes things more coherent. The flowing ceiling binds the works with each other. When I do a show it's always the architecture that dictates -- until then, you don't know. This space makes a kind of Christian cross, so the cross is very present in the show, in a kind of fantastical way.
HP: How does the LA art scene differ from the Paris art scene?
MW: When you want to just get something done I think LA is one of the best places to be. In Paris it's more like New York. If you asked me six years ago I would say there is a big difference; now there is none. Also the younger generation, they know they have to go everywhere. I think an artist is also one who is moving from one place to another. When you get stuck in a place after ten years, you probably are a very famous artist or something, but for young artists you try to be everywhere.
'LOST (in LA)' is on view at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park until to January 27, 2013.