The open stretch of the California skyline, with its budding sense of liberation and promise, can be a refreshing backdrop for contemporary art to thrive. Reine Paradis (b. 1989) chose to move to Los Angeles in 2012, where her new solo exhibition Midnight can be viewed at the Avenue des Artes.
A fascination with the often surreal landscape of present-day America is felt in a series of electrifying photographs. In the titular series, imagined realities are conceptualised by Paradis through sketches and paintings, which perform as blueprints for the staged images. After constructing the corresponding props and costumes, the artist scouts for the perfect location to realise her unique vision. The final result is a collection of vivid scenes which have been infused with a narrative significance, commonly featuring Paradis as the central figure in front of a rich and unnatural Yves Klein blue sky.
Communicating an overarching sense of confusion and joy, the collection celebrates the perplexities of the present environment and the avenues for creative expression that can be explored there. Ten large-scale prints from the collection are shown, including the blinding palette of The Tower (2018), an intense realisation of the landscape, contrasting the skyline with neon green hues. The unexpected use of colour forges an artificial utopia, suggestive of the unpredictable and opportunistic impression that the idealistic state inflicts on its visitors.
As well as the photo series, the show includes five of the artist’s plexiglass sculptures and the installation Golden Pineapple, an immersive journey which offers viewers the opportunity to enter into a fabricated world. Portraying a landscape where objects are alive, the work is rich in sensory experience and striking visuals. Also on view are some excerpts of a feature documentary film entitled Queen of Paradis, following the making of the series and directed by Carl Lindstorm.
Midnight runs from 23 June – 30 July at Avenue des Artes, Los Angeles. For more information, click here.
1. Reine Paradis, The Tower , 2018.