A body of work that presents the third component in a series of projects spread out over the last two years. The first part, a public art project realized in Los Angeles last year, consisted of large scale photographic landscape images that were wall papered on the concrete retaining walls of the Santa Monica freeway.
Susanne Vielmetter Berlin Projects is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Ruben Ochoa. Ochoa, whose work will be included in the upcoming Whitney Biennial, will present a body of work that presents the third component in a series of projects spread out over the last two years. The first part, a public art project realized in Los Angeles last year, consisted of large scale photographic landscape images that were wall papered on the concrete retaining walls of the Santa Monica freeway. The photographs depicted sections of the kind of landscape one would expect behind the concrete walls. Commuters rushing by the installation had the impression of an actual opening in the wall with a view of the landscape behind it – a gap in the endless concrete boundary that so physically and metaphorically defines the city.
The second part of the project became manifest in the fall of 2006, when Ochoa placed the “removed” freeway wall section into the gallery space of LAXART, a nonprofit gallery in the heart of Culver City and adjacent to the Santa Monica freeway. Visitors to the gallery found themselves confronted with a massive concrete wall, awkwardly tilting against the gallery wall, from which an enormous mass of dirt spilled forward. Upon walking around the massive installation to the back of the sculpture they found that the piece was constructed from chicken wire and burlap, and only covered with the thinnest veil of dirt. The installation carried on the optical tongue in cheek attitude of the earlier piece, but it also provided a powerful symbol for the separation that urban architecture forges and for the uneasy relationship between nature and the city it commands.
For the third part of the project, Ochoa presents the landscape wall papers that were originally applied to the Los Angeles freeway walls in the gallery space in Berlin. Removed from the concrete walls, the landscape images hang from the ceiling of the space as soft, skin-like remnants. Bereft of the muscular support of the massive architecture beneath them, they allude to a softer and somehow melancholic reality. It was important to Ochoa that the gallery is situated in such close vicinity to the Berlin Wall, a reference that adds another range of connotations onto the project. Small bits of concrete are still stuck to the back of the paper, and the front shows traces of painting where the artist painted over the daily occurring graffiti doodles. The city of Los Angeles had required Ochoa to remove any signs of graffiti within 48 hours of their occurrence, so the wallpaper becomes a direct reflection of the history of these interventions in layers of green, gray, and earth-colored paint. Its painterly surface, its skin-like texture, and its soft posture undermine a concrete wall’s authority.
Ruben Ochoa graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with a MFA in 2003. His work was recently shown in solo exhibitions at LAXART in Los Angeles, at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Buffalo, NY, and in a two person exhibition with Mark Bradford at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He was awarded a Creative Capital Grant in 2005 for his Freeway Wall Extraction project, and he was featured in the 2004 California Biennale at the Orange County Museum of Art. He will be included in the upcoming “Phantom Sightings” exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in a solo exhibition at Site Santa Fe, and in the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2008.
Exhibitions in the new gallery space will alternately showcase artists represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects and by Praz Delavallade Gallery, Paris.
Please contact Joanna Szupinska at email@example.com for questions relating to the artists and upcoming exhibitions. Questions regarding general information and press material should be addressed to Tobias Vielmetter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Susanne Vielmetter can be reached at email@example.com.
Susanne Vielmetter Berlin Projects is located at Holzmarktstrasse 15/18 in Berlin Mitte. From the U/S train stop Jannowitzbrücke turn right and walk approximately 300 meters towards the “Aral” gas station. At the “Aral” gas station turn right towards the galleries which are located in the arched spaces underneath the rail road tracks.
Susanne Vielmetter Berlin Projects
Holzmarkstrasse 15-18 - Berlin
Gallery hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 11 am – 6 pm.