Calliope Pavlides’s new body of drawings, titled Generator, offers a choreographed chaos ruled by a taxonomy of objects, seen most clearly in a new large-scale work titled Cabinet of Curiosities. In placing these objects in the cabinet, Pavlides inverts the constancy of the still life. No longer nature morte, the lemon and the rope are charged with magical properties. They move from their cabinet throughout Generator’s microcosms, where their potential energies find animation. They become batteries that power comic tragedy unfolding at the hand of the omnipresent shadow, “the bust,” whose eyes we see reflected in a sun shaped mirror at the top of the case. God or scientist, this figure lords over the highways, is reflected in the window that overlooks forces rendered visible—sea, mountain, cigarette—layered over wills, invisible, that algorithmically decide: what happens to us?
Palm Trees either photosynthesize, or are made of plastic. Most are not native to Los Angeles. They are moved with ease by the hands of the Traffic God that transforms vehicles into an evolved weather system where green, yellow, and red lights, human attempts at organizing chaos, are an illusion of empowerment against a maelstrom of motivations. The will of one can transplant the opportunity of another, or, in the case of Shock to the System, create an explosion. The trees are dotted along...
A rope: coiled through a reflective landscape. It is manipulated by the smoking bust, the Pyro. Cigarette ashes and smoked remnants are landmines in an existential line between a fake paradise and a disaster landscape where naturally inherent dangers are exacerbated by human development.
A Ribcage: a membrane through which to safely view a solar eclipse whose glowing ring becomes a hole in the chest. The body is a conversion mechanism where the metaphysical impulse to “Feel Your Feelings” becomes a psychosomatic warning. The sun’s light through the sunglasses’ lens projects the gaze backward.
A lemon: an orbiting member of a pseudoscientific solar system. Its orbits are manipulated by the memory of the puppeteer and the witness.
A jellyfish: a creature without a central nervous system. It is electric. It chooses to sting you. It does not believe in the sublime but it is moved by nature.
The exhibition is accompanied by a new book, Calliope Pavlides: 2020-2022, available for purchase online.