Desperate Measures:
Artists Using Their Bodies To Make Actions

Curated by Spotak

May 13, 2005

Featuring works by:

Nitai Cook, Justin Hansch, Elisa Maria Lopez, Noah Peffer, Mat Shima and Jason Starr

ART2102 is pleased to present Desperate Measures, an exhibition that features the work of five Los Angeles based artists who are using their bodies to make actions. Though each artist appears in their work, self-portrait and identity are not the focal point. Instead each work in the exhibition presents a sense of urgency and necessity which is manifested through individual actions the artists create. These actions and artworks are realized through rituals, adventures, survival tactics, and sports & games.

In Trying To Reach Heaven, originally drawn on a bathroom wall, Nitai Cook recreates the scene using a crayon - the material he began using as a child to draw on walls. The drawing illustrates a nighttime scene of two figures climbing along the edge of a freeway interchange, where fear, in the extremely dangerous situation, is overcome by the desire for adventure.

For Rites of Passage I Made up for Myself 1, Elisa Maria Lopez describes her work, “I was addressing the void of meaningful, unifying, and necessary life rituals in American culture. Rituals or community actions to help individuals through inevitable life transitions or difficult times are severely lacking or nonexistent, and I believe this contributes greatly to alienation and depression. This piece was made from a direct need to physically act out a particularly difficult transition at a certain point in my life. I found that creating rituals for myself is a good way of documenting my own changes and growth, and also taking the d.i.y. mindset to a different place; to mark the passing of time and significance in my life (and other lives) through action within an apathetic, capitalist society.”

Extreme Pillow Surfing is a sport created by Noah Peffer where a pillow is strapped to one’s feet and used to slide down a hill lined with cardboard. In his photograph Peffer uses professional photography techniques from extreme sports magazines to poke fun at his not-so-extreme sport.

For this exhibition, Mat Shima made a color copy of a page in his notebook. The image shows the artist laying in a small crevice in the side of a cliff. He adds a handwritten, somewhat diaristic text element describing his relationship with rock and the shelter it provides.

In Crosswalk, a short video by Justin Hansch and Jason Starr, the artists are shown sprinting across an intersection. In a race against the street signal, Starr and Hansch run as many laps as they can across the crosswalk before the light turns red. This simple action is created by slightly altering the everyday to create new possibilities for living within existing conditions and restraints.

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