LOS ANGELES — When asked by Martha Wilson about the affinity for contradiction in his operate in a 1996 BOMB journal job interview, artist Pope.L pointed to his possess household encounters as one particular clue, noting how the “desire to keep issues alongside one another,” saved coming in conflict with “this inclination for things to slide apart.” Fairly than settle for these impulses as mutually exceptional and in opposition, Pope.L, who is acknowledged for his gonzo interventions into art and existence, dives into the tensions, curious as to how just one will make which means in just these types of a shifting and unstable surroundings. He embraces contradiction and nonsense as but just one method of engaging with our social realities and knowledge how all those realities are structured by ideologies like racism, consumerism, and extra.
I believed about Pope.L’s desire to “produce a planet or item with these types of tensions,” as he described to Wilson, when viewing The Ritual Is For All of us, the artist’s second solo exhibition at Vielmetter Los Angeles. Spanning video, projection, objects, and paintings, The Ritual Is for All of us offers a different check out into Pope.L’s legendary durational apply. Nevertheless he is generally connected to his “Crawl” series — general public performances that identified the artist dragging his system throughout the asphalt of the New York Metropolis streets from just one site to yet another — Pope.L’s exercise resists categorization, flitting from theater to writing to visual artwork with a mischievous glee. Whether he’s making use of a VHS camera or identified objects, his operate considers the slipperiness of language and time, inviting the viewer into absurdist encounters that depart us thinking about our very own views and social situations.
When I entered Vielmetter, I was greeted by a collection of sheds, arranged during the house like a deconstructed maze, building improvised pathways and edges. A dripping sound crammed the gallery as I inspected the sheds, not sure of what I was seeking at or for. I circled the box until eventually encountering a facet with a beige curtain and stepped into a darkish dice, my awareness drawn to a movie participating in on a person of the partitions. “Shed Film” (2006–2022) was shot on pre-superior definition mini DV, and follows a nonlinear stream-of-photographs. 1 thread concerns two figures in hazmat satisfies investigating mulch close to a backyard garden mattress, their motion intercut with near-ups of pastel flowers and scenes of two masked figures chatting in a dank apartment. The display would then reduce to an excessive shut-up of a bleeding eye, with my body sinking each individual time, the exact same feeling I sense when witnessing a soar scare in a horror movie.
As I stopped by each and every get rid of, selected pictures reappeared like nagging ghosts. Many films aspect performers donning vinyl Condoleezza Rice or Donald Rumsfeld masks. The bleeding eye, for instance, returned in “APHOV” (2005–2022), which characteristics a performer in a Rumsfeld mask and their palms painted black, tinkering with a miniature sinking ship although crying bloody tears. “The Collective” (2007–2022) unfurled like a bizarro loved ones sitcom, with the drama (or comedy?) centering on two masked Condeleezas pontificating about the ’70s demonstrate Great Occasions, whilst a different masked pair engaged in a messy kink ritual in the basement. The movies scaled a medley of tones, at when goofy, deranged, heartfelt, and roundabout.
The sheds ended up joined by two sets of wall-primarily based operate — acrylic paintings on paper with dazzling, slurry textual content and a assortment of Salisbury baked bean cans contained in handmade grey compression packing containers. Both echo ongoing assignments, Pores and skin Established and The Black Manufacturing facility respectively, adding a different layer of durational vitality to the exhibition. Skin Set: Calendar characteristics the similar poetic fragment written in blocky letters, the textual content careening joyously into illegibility. Most ended up dated in 2020, but some boasted titles with long run a long time like 2025. Regardless of whether increasing time through the Drop video clips or perplexing it as in the Calendar paintings, Pope.L performs with the instability of time and shows how tapping into this instability can unlock resourceful shifts in thinking.
His experiments with time and language connect this need to disrupt the codified rhythms of our everyday existence. Like his other durational get the job done, The Ritual Is For All of us confronts us with other modes of becoming, peeling back the constricting hierarchies that manage our life. In the BOMB interview, Pope.L stated he wished to generate “works that allow for individuals to enter them selves, thus, enter the mess,” of our entire world. Which is how I felt participating with the sheds scattered in the course of the gallery — like I was encountering the mess of our US fact and had to build ways of generating this means out of the chaos.
The Ritual Is for All of us carries on at Vielmetter Los Angeles (1700 South Santa Fe Avenue, #101, Downtown, Los Angeles) by means of July 23. The exhibition was organized by the gallery.