UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills Debuts a Dark Fantasy
Founded by United Talent Agency, the concrete façade of the UTA Artist Space was born as a venue to showcase local and global works while furthering the agency’s commitment to the art world.
For their latest show, they have collaborated with the highly regarded European and stateside Carpenters Workshop Gallery for their first L.A. exhibit, Dark Fantasy, which is on view until November 16, 2019.
Curated by North American gallery director Ashlee Harrison, who is based in New York, the overall mission has been very well received. “There is a major thirst for it,” she told the Courier, “And the right fit for us with UTA. They are open to programming and taking risks with new ideas and the venue is gorgeous, it allows the work to breathe as sculpture.”
The main room is carefully dotted with art installations posing as sculptural furnishings and the two other rooms are more immersive collections by independent artists.
Based on the concept of Archeofuturism, which unearths forms from the past to shape future narratives, “The theme and narrative reflect on this tumultuous time and how we look to art to escape to the point that it becomes a moment of dream and fantasy.” According to Harrison, “To create this immersive environment, we wanted to escape the darkness and harsh realities through the works theme and goal.”
One such example is the Nacho Carbonell room filled with cocoon figurines in welded steel almost like a futuristic maze of trees in a Tim Burton film. The adjoining room features an L.A. debut of the celestial “Fragile Future” – a whimsical large-scale installation with hundreds of dandelions illuminated with LED lights by Studio Drift that’s an integration of nature and technology handcrafted to a tranquil result.
The works range from never before seen “Reclining Nude”, 2019 by Atelier Van Lieshout, before you even enter the space, to masterworks such as Sebastian Brajkovic Rococo style chair. The piece is cast in bronze mirroring classical architypes of European 18th century furnishings morphed into a surrealist sculpture. The whimsical nature and beautiful meticulously hand embroidered metallic silk on linen gives the pieces an “Alice in Wonderland” sensibility.
“We wanted to create a show that really spoke to the cinematic and film references so much of the work is very theatrical and a suspension of your disbelieve. You start to engage with the sculpture and how you relate to it as a functional piece,” explained Harrison.
The starting point for putting the exhibit together came from renowned Dutch artist Maarten Baas and his “Grandfather Clock Brass” piece with its surrealist, Daliesque form of time.
“We are controlled by our phones and this digital age our phones tell us the time. But back in the 19th century they were considered symbols of status and if you had a Grandfather clock in your home it meant that you came from a certain place of society,” informed Harrison. In this case, the artist is revisiting the past with a performance piece in the form of a video and digital installation. A grandfather figure behind the face of the clock is telling the time by drawing the hands on the clock for every minute and then erasing them and starting again for a continuous 12-hour period. It’s a painstaking reminder of time passing every minute. And, wait for it, he rings a bell at the top of the hour. It’s fascinating and mesmerizing. “We are stopping and watching time in this moment,” said Harrison.
Another stunning stand-alone piece by the Verhoeven Twins, is the shiny silver desk that was fabricated from one seamless metal piece that pays homage to their iconic “Cinderella” table which was the prototype. The artists worked with Porsche manufacturers and robotics to create this seamless piece with 200,500 bolts. Car, boat or airplane fans will appreciate the technical skill to fabricate and assemble this installation.
New pieces that have never before been seen include “Bubbles” also by the Verhoeven Twins and the 3 large vessels in mixed ceramics from L.A. local Roger Herman that are more like canvases with figures painted inside and out.
A crowd participation pleaser is by Random International who brought us the “Rain Room” at LACMA. The wall hanging resembles a lighted board that looks like it originated from a game show. It’s a high technology piece where the viewer becomes engaged with the work. You become part of a performance piece. Playing with tech and light where your image fades with the light as you move. This work was commissioned by Phillips in 2008 who had created new LED lights at the time. “This is an older work but very important to include in the exhibit,” Harrison told the Courier, “It predates the selfie era.”
This is a must-see exhibit that highlights advanced techniques, traditional master craft, and new technology while exploring over a decade of functional art by 24 artists from the excellent Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s program, creating a dialogue between space, time and contemporary archeology.
403 Foothill Rd., Beverly Hills 310-579-9850