Through a variety of media and material, the artists in this exhibition use space as the repository for dreams, fantasies, traumas and anxieties, while offering opportunities to re-imagine and recreate reality. The title of the exhibition Nonmemory, takes direct inspiration from Kelley’s use of the term, a way of treating, reordering and representing the complex and unstable relationship between memory, space and identity.
Alongside a number of Mike Kelley works related to Educational Complex, Meriem Bennani and Olivia Erlanger’s pieces continue Kelley’s assessment of institutional and domestic space on identity formation, highlighting how the subject not only develops in, but is developed through space. Through her particular use of documentary and animation, Moroccan–born artist Meriem Bennani’s work in the exhibition deals with the legacy of colonialism in Morocco and its effects on the identities of students educated in the French lycée system, herself included. Culling from a range of suburban visual lexicon and architectural vernacular, Olivia Erlanger’s pieces investigate the mythology behind American social mobility and its fraught relationship to gender and class.
Artists Raúl de Nieves and Max Hooper Schneider both amass large amounts of personal and found objects in their works, which are reminiscent of Kelley’s lavish collection of keepsakes that saturate his Memory Ware Flats series. De Nieves is a Mexican-born artist whose ‘psycho-topographical’ pieces cull from memories of his migration from Michoacán to the United States. Deploying sublimity, nostalgia and tropes of the natural to different ends, Hooper Schneider’s excessive accumulation and subsequent degradation of everyday objects renders conventional forms and habitats strange, unfamiliar and constantly in flux.
Similar to Mike Kelley’s Kandors, Kelly Akashi and Beatriz Cortez engage with natural and counter architectural forms as a way of challenging our perceptions of space and time. El Salvador–born, Los Angeles–based artist Beatriz Cortez’s multimedia amalgamations of distant pasts and futures create new historical and spiritual multiplicities in the present. Kelly Akashi, also Los Angeles based, uses the lens of geology as a psychological metaphor for expansive time and space.
Los Angeles–based artist Lauren Halsey’s architectural prototypes work to archive and preserve the unique, hybrid culture of South-Central LA into the future. Placed in dialogue with each other, Mike Kelley’s Mobile Homestead and Lauren Halsey’s piece expand on the evolution of social practice and public art over the last several decades, underscoring the complexities of navigating between institutional and non-institutional space.