333 Chesterfield Avenue, North Vancouver, BC V7M 3G9

My House: Mike Kelley and Ryan Trecartin

Guest Curator: Tobin Gibson

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.

Screenings at DIM Cinema  Sessions: Kelley and Trecartin

In conjunction with My House: Mike Kelley and Ryan Trecartin, curator Tobin Gibson presents two rare videos examining the impact of language, translation and silence in these artists’ work. Kelley’s silent, twofold video Test Room… and A Dance… (1999) jumps between protocols of scientific animal study and modernist choreography, conducted in a surreal laboratory environment. On view this evening for the first time outside of China, a unique version of Trecartin’s The Re’Search (Re’Search Wait’S) (2009-10) has been made possible thanks to an exhibition at the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, in 2014. For this exhibition, his ‘movie’ – a term deliberately used by Trecartin to describe his films – adopted Mandarin subtitles, further complicating the artist’s repurposing and layering of language.

Test Room Containing Multiple Stimuli Known to Elicit Curiosity / Manipulatory Responses and A Dance Incorporating Movements Derived from Experiments by Harry F. Harlow and Choreographed in the Manner of Martha Graham | Mike Kelley/USA (1999). 59:54, colour and b&w, silent.

The Re’Search (Re’Search Wait’S) | Ryan Trecartin/USA (2009-10). 40:09, colour, sound.

Mike Kelley (1954, Wayne, Michigan – 2012, South Pasadena, California) is considered one of the most influential artists of our time. He has exhibited extensively before and after his death, working in an array of genres and styles, including performance, installation, drawing, painting, video, photography, sound works, text, and sculpture. Recent solo exhibitions include Mike Kelley, Hauser & Wirth, New York (2015); the 2012–14 touring retrospective Mike Kelley, which traveled to: the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; MoMA P.S.1, Long Island City, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and MOCA, Los Angeles; Gagosian Gallery, London and New York (2011, 2005); WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels (2008); and Musée du Louvre, Paris (2006). Kelley lived and worked in Los Angeles.

Ryan Trecartin (1981, Webster, Texas) came to prominence nearly a decade ago, and is known for his video and sculptural work. Posing radical challenges both aesthetically and linguistically, his prescient work has become synonymous with the seismic shifts in culture that have defined our post-millennial moment. His solo and collaborative projects with Lizzie Fitch have been the subject of numerous exhibitions including Ryan Trecartin/Lizzie Fitch, Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2011–12); Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever, which in various iterations traveled to: MoMA P.S. 1, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; Istanbul Modern; the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and The Power Plant, Toronto (2009–10). Trecartin received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

  • Ryan Trecartin, A Family Finds Entertainment, 2004, Video, 42 minutes, Courtesy Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York © Ryan Trecartin