Gallery: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure – Sterling Ruby @ Hauser & Wirth

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Hauser & Wirth does not shy away in their latest exhibition at their Savile Row gallery by Los Angeles based artist Sterling Ruby. WHAT A NAME, RIGHT?! (maybe his parents were hipsters – just saying)… Four words come to mind: dominance, large-scale, colour, exuberance.

EXHM, short hand for exhumation, perfectly captures the ethos of this show. Through his works, he is essentially excavating American histories, compulsions, individuals, and irrationality that then becomes “charged markers and allegories for the burdens that plague contemporary existence…” By incorporating found materials from his studio, he reestablishes these “garbage” materials to create something new as act of redemption and therapy. One’s man trash is another man’s treasure, and Ruby successfully creates his trash into something fresh and innovative.

With his wide range of mediums and art practices on display, it is hard to find an attendee walking aimlessly around the gallery. Every turn you make, every step you take, you come across something that makes you wonder…

Upon entering the gallery, the sheer scale of his massive pieces with their BRIGHT patriotic American colours is quite striking. But is it patriotism? Take “Monument Stalamite/ WE LUV STRUGGLIN” or “CDCR.” These American colours seep onto the objects appearing almost as heavy burdens. How is this American patriotism? Is it? Is it not? Is it beauty? Is it grotesque? WHAT IS IT?

I am unsure of what the artist’s intent was. I believe this installation to be a critique of American domination and the false hopes and dreams America so proudly prides itself on. This I think is mirrored in the Vampire pieces (located in another room in the North Gallery), all hung up in one room encompassing the viewer. These vampire teeth are made from fabric, again with American colours-RED, WHITE, AND BLUE. This might be a condemnation, but I would never say this exhibition is one of pessimism. Sterling provides an alternative through optimistic redemptive pieces to make up for this condemnation aka by giving these found objects NEW LIFE and NEW MEANING.

The North Gallery, with its collages and ceramic pots, created by reusing found objects in his studio, aka, what was once “rubbish,” has now taken on the power of uplifting the dark spirits through objects that evoke the innards of human carcasses. GROSS?!. At least that’s what I saw, but HEY I do have a bit of a morbid mind). Collages mixed with fabrics, cardboard, and other found materials surround these pots. Again, this emphasises a renaissance… of “garbage.”

But what do I know? Why not take a look for yourself! It recently opened so you have plenty of time… The Exhibition closes 4th May 2013!

Peace Out, K.

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