ArtsMarch 22, 2012 at 5:34 am

Tying It Together

L.A. artist Pae White confronts and consumes her audience in a new immersive installation at The Fabric Workshop.

An overwhelming serenity envelops the viewer immediately upon entering Pae White’s installation “Summer XX” at the Fabric Workshop. Hundreds of individual red strings are tightly pulled from the ceiling to join the opposite wall in a massive, webbed cascade of thread. When sunlight pours through the large window, the network of red oozes with an ethereal weightlessness that must be experienced in person.

The three–dimensional lattice created from the suturing of string spells the words “Hasta la muerte” onto the wall, which translates to “Until death.” The artist borrows the phrase from graffiti near her East Los Angeles studio, transforming a temporary, immaterial text into the focus of the viewer’s contemplation. White’s pieces, which have been included in the 2009 Venice Biennial and 2010 Whitney Biennial, employ simple materials to investigate the overlooked aspects of the everyday. In her own words, she claims to confront people, “nudging them off balance, encouraging a deeper look.”

In this site–specific installation, White’s use of plain string emphasizes the ephemera of the text while imbuing it with a rational, clearly–defined physical presence. “Hasta la muerte” is about the notion of time; wrapped into this short axiom is a sense of anticipation, fear and a ticking clock. The spatial process of weaving the threads together to form each letter materially represents our progression toward an end. Here, the end is the wall. What, or where, is our end?

The work inspires an unnerving simultaneity of awe and tranquility in the viewer. Leading us to reconsider and re–evaluate our spatial surroundings, “Summer XX” traces the ghosts and the fears that inhabit our everyday but are persistently overlooked. This is one exhibit that demands to be noticed.

Pae White: Summer XX
The Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1214 Arch St.
Now–Late Spring

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