« Previous | Culture Monster Home | Next »

Art Review: Jedediah Caesar, 'Mango Obstruction' at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

February 10, 2011 |  6:45 pm

Jedediah Caesar Installation Jedediah Caesar slices and dices solidified chunks of garbage for two very good reasons. The results, scattered all over two large galleries at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, are fun to see. They also give visitors lots to think about, particularly in terms of the fate of humanity and the prospects for the planet. Your imagination leaps into action before Caesar’s sculptures, whose strength resides in not forcing issues but leaving people free to come to their own conclusions.

Just about everything in Caesar’s exhibition, “Mango Obstruction,” was cut from a solid 2½-ton block. In the old days, sculptors turned to nature for their materials, carving stone to create their works. In contrast, the “stone” Caesar starts with is made in a huge rectangular mold, which he filled with detritus scavenged from industrial dumps and urban garbage heaps: PVC pipes, shredded tires, carpet padding, fiberglass insulation, aluminum straps, broken glass and splintered plywood.

When the mold could hold no more, Caesar poured in several hundred gallons of urethane, filling every nook and cranny with the toxic liquid that swiftly turned solid. The big brick then sat on a street corner in Culver City before it was shipped to the Netherlands, where it stood in the countryside as part of another exhibition.

Caesar finally sent it to an industrial mill in Los Angeles, where technicians used a heavy duty band-saw to slice it into smaller sections, including a 4-by-2-foot block, dozens of 7-foot-long strips, hundreds of 8-inch bricks and more than 75 page-size slices, each of which is about ¼-inch thick.

Arranged in grids on the walls, these multi-panel pieces recall MRI scans, frames of time-lapse films and abstract paintings. Caesar’s 3-D pieces recall petrified forests and fossil-filled rocks. Together, they invite us to look at the present from a perspective far off in the future, when all that is left of civilization is its unrecyclable ruins. It’s not a pretty picture. But it is realistic. And loaded.

-- David Pagel

Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, 6006 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 837-2117, through March 12. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.vielmetter.com

Photo: Jedediah Caesar, installation view, "Mango Obstruction." Credit: Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Comments () | Archives (4)

Interesting work, but it's based on Arman, who was doing similar things in the 60s.

Jedediah Caesar should be brought on to conserve the Watts Towers. He's got gluing trash together down to an art.

Uh no, he doesnt. Mr Rodia used "trash" as pigments, he seperated them and cemented them as swaths of rhythmic color and structural pattern. Durable and textural they can stand the elements, paint would have faded away almost immediately and needed constant repainting. Nuestro Pueblo is an outside and even better Merzbau, Kurt Schwitters being his closest creative art brother. Crossed with Gaudi.

Yet Mr Rodia gets no respect. Why? Because he never bothered to waste time and money on an art degree. That is why he is considered an outsider, when truly an insider with humanity and not a small cult of the MFA.

This is completely without color. Souless. Lifeless. In a real environment it would be picked up and deposited in the trash bin, only in a sterile and academic environment can any worth be seen. Put it on the street and see how well it stands up With life. No apart from it. Imperial clothing. Lots of articles on that today.

art collegia delenda est
Another day of academic illustrations of irrelevant "ideas", er, "concepts".

Garbage 4 sale : shamanistic nonsense and naked prevarication. At least the people who buy it can afford to. What would be funny is if someone recognized the trash they threw away that they just payed big bank for. Re- recycling


Recommended on Facebook

In Case You Missed It...


Explore the arts: See our interactive venue graphics


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.