LAXART is pleased to present Work, a newly commissioned exhibition by New Orleans-based artist Zarouhie Abdalian (b. 1982, New Orleans). This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Taking the forms of installations and sculptures, Abdalian’s work is founded in the critique of political and ideological systems.
Work functions as an investigation into the relationship between nature and art. In other words, the exhibition takes up the question of what fundamentally distinguishes “the given” from “the made.” Abdalian locates that demarcation in the historical transition during which lithic tools appear as an artifact of human activity, transforming freely appropriable nature into an instrument of human production. Work variously dramatizes this moment of alienation in the presentation of new sculptures, photographs, and a new work for loudspeakers. Each work registers the great force under which the object of labor takes form and by which man, in an act of violence, distances himself from his supposed other— nature. Abdalian advances her investigation through strikes and blows and, in her account, it is by successive blows that these objects come to convince their makers of their essential difference—that they exist only to the extent that they are acted upon. For Abdalian, the appearance of this difference inaugurates the historical process of human exploitation. In order to reflect on the profound implications of this development, Abdalian positions her work at the threshold of such a transition—between the rule of aura or magic and the rule of value, between the substance that man is of and the substance that man is for.
A related publication is forthcoming in Fall 2017.
Zarouhie Abdalian has exhibited widely at venues including San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; MOSTYN, Wales; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams; Lulu, Mexico City; Whitney Biennial 2017, New York; Prospect.3 Biennale, New Orleans; the 8th Berlin Biennale; 9th Shanghai Biennale; CAFAM Biennale, Beijing; and the 12th Istanbul Biennial, to name a selection. She has a forthcoming solo exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans in 2018.
This exhibition is curated by Micki Meng
Major support is provided by Marjory Graue, Sonya Yu and Zack Lara, and the Pasadena Art Alliance
Generous support is provided by Kaitlyn and Mike Krieger, Robin Wright, anonymous, and by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant program.