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Have you ever stopped to mix two very opposite elements of thoughts, or even thought about what would come out of it? Most likely no. That is the act of anti-spontaneous and unless you pull the trigger intentionally, it would never come out of the daily context. While the phrase “twenty first century” has started to sound nothing more than ordinary, LOW GALLERY has celebrated its opening of UK art star Jeremy Deller’s show “I LOVE MELANCHOLY”. It was the show that will make a little happy stir in people’s ordinary flow of thoughts. Located on the border of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, LOW is a unique white two-plex (sandwiching retail store I’m sure for good reason) providing conceptual artists a quality space to voice their work. The network spreads out world wide, for example from Japan, Nobuyoshi Araki and Takashi Homma have listed their names here. This thought provoking gallery has been around in the scene for a while now.

Born in London 1966, Deller grew up staring at the class culture that the city forced on people. He successfully noticed a happy crack in between, where he found a daring comfort space for his creative expressions. To be a beloved pop artist seems to require contradiction to posses both optimism and nihilism. Deller succeeds in crossing genre and medium nimbly and keep pressing two opposite vector in people’s face. Yet in a very humble way. Deller’s creative vehicle is always hidden in routine communication or daily habits so chances are that people might not notice the message’s existence at all. unless you get a guidance from a sky (like I did from Jeffrey @ LOW) you need a proper satellite dish to channel it right. But he even enjoys the foul in audience response and that playful attitude certainly is the best representation of his work.

Many might be turned off by this doughy opener paragraphs but this is all for “receiving” something from his show, I shall confess here. Being busied by routine daily task and often times people tend to forget to stop. The option to think is taken away here or spontaneously given up by one. To read a signal to “stop” from something has never been quite this extraordinary in the history. Well, the revelation shall follow at last…

Three works from the past are on display in the main space. Being a righty I started off with the piece to the right. Little sticker that says “I †¥ Joyriding” is on the spacious white wall and the photograph of that sticker on a bumper of the car. And you realize that vehicle belongs to the police. As you all well may know, “joy riding” represents this criminal act to steal a car from one place and go for a ride, however politely put it back in the place it was originally found. Deller was the very person who played this charm on police’s property. The sticker’s so tiny, I’m sure the officers had fun “riding around” for at least a little while. This package of whole act and mind game is nothing but his creative activity. You get the idea.

Second work at the end of the room seems as if he’s hosting a mini-slide show. Images from Veteran’s Day parade at the Death Valley are projected on the wall. Images from this annual patriotic parade, mainly due to the location, are almost positively lacking the sophisticated skepticism that city usually offers. If you’ve done your homework, you should be looking for the opposite symbol to ‘patriotism’ now…and Deller does not fail you. The music that fills the space is coming from the CD player, and they are THE KINKS. ’60s British loungy sound does provide the total opposite ambient and the field of contradiction reveals itself once again. Even the little slide projecter’s automated rhythm seems to play the role in this whole piece.

Now on your left, the music-tree is displayed in the plexi glass frame. The rough handwriting in white ink on a black paper is nothing new from a distance. I found this music-tree when I was hanging out in the Shibuya area couple years ago, trying to explain the “Shibuya-kei” sound from various terms. What that was for is far beyond my memory now but I still remember that the tree was cleverly well done. Revealing the roots of the sound is always a sacred experience and here Brass Band and Acid House are mixed into one map. As different as they may seem, two comes from the same social hierarchy, ‘working class’. Former is favored by old school guys and latter is practiced by raver kids. And these two in Deller’s mastermind does effect each other. Deller himself produced and performed in this 1997 musical CD project “Acid Brass”.

Then you’ll be lead to this triangle space, where his piece Most of the time artist end up under-using. This second unit is at the very end of the building and this extreme shape is certainly a hard ingredients to cook. Deller’s solution was to turn the entire room into a piece. The resin letters “I †¥ Melancholy” floats in middle of the black wall. other two walls are kept white and the florecent light is way harsh on your eyes. It’s so bright that once you stepping into the room turns out to be quite a trip. Black dimension is so calm and tightens up the glaring space. You can peek in from the half open door, place yourself in the middle of the room, or be up close to the clear coated lettering. There’s no right way to do it which gives the space a sense of infinity while this piece is dead stuck in this room. The simple font is somewhat adding the warmth to this depressing word. This was originally designed for agnies b. (French Designer)’s T-shirt. In the other room, I came across the essay “Melancholy” randomly placed on the table, as if to speak for the other
speechless space.

Date : January 11- February 9, 2002
Address: 9052, Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, USA
Tel: +01 (310) 281-2691

Text and Photos: Aya Muto from New Image Art Gallery

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