Our driver told us to be careful. Look both ways, I thought. After a long pause, he elaborated by telling us to buy non-perishables, i.e. anything in a tin can. “We’re on the brink of World War III,” he said without blinking. There was some truth in his caution — all great wars have beginnings. But this war didn’t start in the back of a taxi... I moved halfway across the nation in fear of the sea, only to become fearful of the sky. — Miami-Dutch, August 12, 2017
Club Pro Los Angeles is pleased to present Traffic in the Square, a solo exhibition of new work by the collaborative Miami-Dutch. Continuing the human tendency of myth-making as a form of coping with the present, Miami-Dutch addresses the formation of new identities as borders and political climates shift. The exhibition title itself refers to mass gatherings in public arenas, bringing to mind the fall of civic entities and the unrest that ensues.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is Outside the City Gates, a large-scale installation of gates suspended from the ceiling. Adorned with padlocks, flowers, and other found objects, the interiors of the gates become a site for memorial, but rendered un-passable. Referencing such landmarks as the “love locks” at the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, the Wailing Wall, a site for pilgrimage and public display of emotion, as well as separation barriers including the Berlin Wall and the West Bank barrier, the installation elicits the politics of belonging, borders, boundaries, and territorial constructs.
Border Dance without Shoes (with Christopher Argodale) similarly puts the viewer in a place where they must consider their right to passage. A performance for video re-interpreting the Wagah border ceremony, a militaristic dance performed daily by security forces on the border of India and Pakistan, the piece is characterized by elaborate, rapid maneuvers and is symbolic of the two countries' rivalry, cooperation, and brotherhood. Set in a desert environment against a backdrop of sirens reminiscent of calls to war, Border Dance without Shoes investigates a contentious political atmosphere through expressionist movement, presenting a violent duel between two bodies and creating a sense of unease in reaction to both each other and the landscape.
The performance for video is accompanied by A Peace Conference in the Desert, a sculpture combining two swords welded together at the tips of their blades. The work alludes to the distance across the floor of the House of Commons between the government and opposition benches, which is said to be equivalent to the length of two swords, preventing opponents from killing one another over disagreement. Now rendered nonviolent, the conjoined swords act as a singular instrument, requiring two bodies to activate it.
Ghost Bag (Danny) is an aqua resin cast of a worn duffel bag ornamented with flowers. Emblematic of a traveler, the implied human presence suggests time, nomadicity, and geopolitical status. A play on words, the title draws on the tradition of the roadside memorial created to honor a stricken cyclist, otherwise known as a “ghost bike.” Similarly acting as a memorial for a traveler, Not Leather, But Apricots, is a banner comprised of found shoe soles that have been grommeted and tied together with laces. This piece references techniques used to stretch leather, bringing the shoe sole back to its bodily origin. From the sheer weight of the human body, the foam insole rubs against the interior of the rubber shoe, over time developing an imprint of dirt and sweat that outlines the shape of the foot. This collision of body and material results in a simple object implicit of human presence and travel
About Miami-Dutch Miami-Dutch is a core collectif of self-evasive characters, formed in 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Currently residing in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, the group comprises Lauren Elder, Brian Khek, André Lenox, Evan Lenox, and Micah Schippa. Continuing the human tendency of myth-making and identity creation as a form of coping with the present, Miami-Dutch, utilizes a naming device to describe a regional dialect, pairing "Miami" with "Dutch" into a hyphenate to suggest a fictional encounter during the colonization of the Americas. Miami-Dutch has recently held solo exhibitions at Shoot The Lobster, New York; Queer Thoughts, Chicago; and Courtney Blades, Chicago; and participated in group exhibitions at Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; and Library Plus, London. This exhibition at Club Pro Los Angeles will mark Miami-Dutch’s first solo presentation in Los Angeles.
* "Border Dance Without Shoes," 2017 by Miami-Dutch with Christopher Argodale Directed by: Artem Aisagaliev Director of Photography: Alexey Kurbatov Produced by: badcut Choreographer: Christopher Argodale Performers: Christopher Argodale & Annick Chung