Mike Kelley & Ryan Trecartin : “My house” / Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver (CA) / Until march 6, 2016.

“My House” brings together the work of Mike Kelley and Ryan Trecartin, two important American artists, and places Trecartin’s work in historical perspective. The exhibition will present seminal works and collaborations by Kelley from the 1980s and 2000s, including videos and prints, juxtaposed with Trecartin’s movies spanning from 2004 to 2013—some being exhibited together for the first time.

The work of each artist reveals formal and conceptual affinities that question the dominant culture of our time: from media platforms to popular culture, mechanisms of representation and the pervasive effects of globalization. Post-Vietnam War United States after 1975 is a particular phenomenological site that has formed an intrinsic relationship between these artists, providing a fertile environment for creative response towards a culture in the throes of profound social, economic, and political change. In 1976 Kelley graduated from the University of Michigan and moved to Los Angeles, California. Although Trecartin did not relocate to the same city until 2010, it is the place Kelley called home until his death in 2012—one that shares the very manic ethos of these revealing works.

The title of the exhibition reflects an important archetype of dream symbolism and psychoanalytic practice. A house commonly reflects the self, whereby the attic is analogous with the cavity of the mind while the basement holds the subconscious, the dwelling of one’s soul. This imagery further draws upon aspects of family interaction and a Jungian collective unconscious, questioning the boundaries of ownership, collaboration and community, several themes which recur in the narratives of Kelley’s and Trecartin’s work.

Through the nature of the works’ theatrical overtones and panoptic content, the vibrant history of the exhibition’s site—a some-100 year old building that houses Presentation House Gallery—becomes further animated. Its institutional pasts—as an elementary school, prison or city hall, and current incarnations from the ground floor Theatre to the Museum below—mirror the boundless personas in the works of Kelley and Trecartin. My House affords an opportunity to consider the artists’ searingly visceral points of view, their institutional critiques and explorations of the shifting nature of identity through satirical performance.


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