The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, opens a new solo exhibition of Hedi Slimane‘s work, on show from this weekend until 22 January 2012. California Song spans the photographer’s California period and traces his explorations of cycles of urban youth culture and artistic communities, through installations of photographic essays, exhibitions, and publications.
Slimane has achieved global recognition over the past decade for his discovery and presentation of emerging musicians and artists. His publications on London youth are among the first books published about the early days of the new British punk-rock movement at the beginning of this decade, capturing the birth of the first generation of Internet users, and redefining the concept of “fans” as an indie youth imagery that has developed globally through emerging social networks. Slimaneʼs widely followed photographic diary, created in 2006, established and popularized an entirely new genre—the online photo diary.
Slimane has invented a new and oblique visual language to represent youth and reinvent the rock documentary. In his work, live performance is reduced to a minimal, photographic lexicon—a ritual black-and-white convention of signs. Still life photographs become almost liturgical—a singular, silent expression of youth.
Slimane’s exhibition at MOCA will be divided into two parts. An installation and a series of black-and-white print photographs from his California years will be presented on the ground floor, and a sonic, motion-photography installation, produced specifically for MOCA, will be featured on the second floor. The installation will reference a multi-projection, cubic, architectural format, which Slimane has constructed in previous exhibitions to present his photographs, using serial construction and repetition to create an archaic form of cinematic narration.
Slimaneʼs allusive portraiture, in which photographs, portraits, and still life compositions are often signs or fragments of a portrait, will be projected in a repetitive, almost ritual, manner. The installation will also address “performance act,” as defined for the first time in Slimaneʼs photographic essay, Stage (2004), and will include a live performance space underneath the projection.
Select California bands, such as No Age, will contribute to the installation, using a fragmentary sound system, and composing panoramic scores—extended, visual song formats—which will form a dialogue with and define a sonic vocabulary for the photographs.
Hedi Slimane’s California Song is on show from 12 November – 22 January.
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