Desert of the Hyperreal

February 11, 2023March 11, 2023

Reproduction submerges all images in a game of telephone, where the endless rehearsal of an original gesture makes it fade into obscurity. Saturation and excess have come to represent a seminal loss, but storytelling remains nestled in the knots of the telephone wire. Twenty-three works by twelve painters initiate contact across time at Allouche Gallery Los Angeles. Curated by llana Kozlov, Desert of the Hyperreal -opening February 16th and running to March 11th- is a selection of paintings by artists living and working in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, London and Istanbul. Their diverse and contrasting practices collapse the distance between the contemporary and ancient.

Stencils of hands and paintings of animals are the earliest records of human art. Experts debate the why of these venerable images, but television shows, Tiktok filters, and the digital ad panopticon emerged from the same primeval impulse. An avalanche of modern simulation has replaced reality, causing a withdrawal from intimacy with the world, which philosopher Jean Baudrillard calls, “the desert of the real.” The works in Desert of the Hyperreal highlight a conversation between a mind which seeks to be emptied and the projections competing to command it.

From Ben Noam’s salient rocks in Bouldering Flow, to Yung Jake’s cartoon trimmed self-portrait, layered familiarities blend and riot like waves. Jeanette Hayes' De-Mooning series overlaps 20th century images from postwar and girl power America across from Leila Rahimi’s timeless, myth-teeming seascape. Images from nature represent a surrendered state of consciousness as it observes the tectonic clutter of human civilization. Anja Salonen’s ‘Mycelial Kiss’ shows what is impressive yet unseen to the impersonated eyes of those who surround us in Sang Woo Kim’s ‘Glances 001 & 002’ -their dialogue washing an undone heart. Tae Lee’s loose yet hypnotic scenes of spiritual repose contrast Sickid’s graphic milieu. However, an undeniable homecoming is ushered by them both.