September 16 - October 29, 2016
1010 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
“So the neighborhood didn’t frighten him. He fell in love with it, actually. He liked to come home at night and walk for blocks and blocks without seeing anyone. He liked the color of the streetlamp and the light that spilled over the fronts of the houses. The shadows that moved as he moved. The ashen, sooty dawns. The men of few words who gathered in the pub, where he became a regular. The pain, or the memory of pain, that here was literally sucked away by something nameless until only a void was left. The knowledge that this question was possible: pain that turns finally into emptiness. The knowledge that the same equation applied to everything, more or less. . . It was as if painter and neighborhood had achieved total symbiosis. As if, in other words, the painter were painting the neighborhood or the neighborhood were painting the painter, in savage, gloomy strokes.”
Roberto Bolaño, 2666, p.52
Bolaño wrote most of 2666 while he was on the waiting list for a liver transplant, he was at the top of the list when he finished the book, and shortly thereafter died. What holds me most isn’t simply the severe outline of places painted by someone working literally from the grips of death, but the strong light of empathy shining within the multitude of characters inside the darkness. There’s no palpable anxiety of the author being on a waiting list to live, but rather a very present understanding that every name on that list depends on another’s death.
“Does art relieve pain or enhance it?”
“Does art sympathize or empathize?”
I wake up in silence and move through the house in peace. I drive through downtown and listen to the news, I smell the fumes, I see concrete poured on concrete, advertisements for alien products, people asleep outside and animals dead on the road. I turn off the alarm and the studio is silent and dark. I’m vibrating now and the walls deny the world. I drive to the desert and plant the only kind of flowers that will grow, I feel my skin in the sun, I see my age in the sand. Sometimes the saddest songs are all that makes you feel ok.
I drive across the country and America expands and contracts. The power lines are both fleeting and consuming, the cities are foreign and familiar, the fields are producing and polluting. Sometimes I see the people inside the cars and sometimes I just see the cars. The split second glimpse of the world on film confirms that forever exists. I walk to the woods and spend the day watching the light move through the trees, I listen to the wind and the animals.
Sam Falls, 2016
Recent solo exhibitions of Sam Falls have been at the Kitchen, New York, NY, 2015; Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX, 2015; Pomona College Museum of Art, Pomona, CA, 2014; Public Art Fund, New York, NY, 2014; and LAXART, Los Angeles, CA, 2013. Group exhibitions have been held at the Kunsthalle Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, 2016; Menil Collection, Houston, TX, 2016-2015; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 2015; Madre Museum, Naples, Italy, 2014. Falls’ work is included in several museum collections including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; The Albright Knox, Buffalo, New York.