“Ultimately, Photography is subversive not when it frightens, repels or even stigmatizes, but when it is pensive, when it thinks” … Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida
Leo Koenig Inc. is pleased to announce the opening of a solo exhibition of new photo-based works by Brandon Lattu. An extremely considered artist, for this exhibition, Lattu will be exhibiting works that have occupied his attention over the last several years. A conceptualist who uses photography, sculpture, and digitally based imagery, Lattu has carefully labored over the most intricate details of his images to produce works that seduce with a deceptively simple and elegant beauty. At the same time these images resonate on an equally powerful sentient level.
Lattu will be presenting five projects that each juxtapose different aspects of visuality to identify the different functions of pictorial genres. Transparency and blankness are recurrent themes throughout the show that question assumptions about traditions of picture making. The manipulation, clarity, and overload of information in these images triggers the recognition that we can visually imagine a scene such as this but we will never see in this way.
In “Film Without End”, Lattu presents a video projection that he has produced by driving through Los Angeles at night with a slide projector casting a blank white rectangle the shape of a movie screen onto the passing landscape. What at first seems to be a digital effect slowly displays itself as an actual but brief interjection into the urban space. Alluding to Guy Debord’s conception of the derive, the piece simultaneously displays and questions the fascination of the cinematic spectacle.
Lattu’s ability to stealthily weave in and out of critical discourse by causing the firing of alternating synapses of beauty and intellect seems effortless. In “Miracle Mile”, Lattu utilizes the extent of photographic technology to produce a series of views looking west down the length of Wilshire Boulevard between La Brea and Fairfax Avenues in Los Angeles. Presented on a pure field of black, the only images depicted are the illuminated signs. Contrasting this black field of nothingness, each sign is presented in its accurate place and scale in relation to the section depicted. Perspective is eliminated and some signs appear backwards as one might see them while looking in a side view mirror from a car at night. With careful inspection the viewer becomes aware that commercial competition is investigated in this piece through the presence of stores directly across the street from one another. For example, on the north side of the street, Rite Aid, Staples and Blockbuster vie with Sav-on, Office Depot and Hollywood video on the south side offering essentially the same products. Here and throughout Lattu’s oeuvre, the instinctual attraction of sublime visual pleasure becomes inseparable from intellectual engagement.
Also Included in this exhibition will be the works “Selected Products” and “Rejected Products”. In the selected version Lattu has arranged boxes of dry goods that he has chosen from his own pantry. Digitally scanning all faces of each box, and then adjusting the transparency of the faces, the commercial decoration on all surfaces are displayed at once. By utilizing this visual device, the rift between the simplicity of a consumable product and the complexity of the graphic information used to sell it is foregrounded. In the rejected version the process and background are identical, the only difference is that the products are commercially competing alternatives. By presenting these similar images together, Lattu objectifies the issues of taste, authenticity and seriality that exist within the local supermarket as well as the artworld. However, the significance of these ideas are embedded within the visual enchantment that the artist’s thoughtful and painstaking process has produced. Shot to mimic an aerial view, the “products” assume a jewel-like quality. The seductiveness of the colors, the facets, and ghostly emptiness of the boxes supplants our qualifying and propels us into the sheer pleasure of looking.
Two examples from Lattu’s Sample series will be presented in this exhibition as well. “Sand, Point Dume, Malibu, California” and “Denim, Levi’s 501 Unwashed, Made in USA” are images produced with the utmost care to render the source material in the greatest degree of verisimilitude possible. On first viewing they appear as monochromatic fields, but with closer examination they reveal a depth and texture that makes them virtually indistinguishable from the materials they nominally depict.
Brandon Lattu holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles where he graduated after receiving a BFA from the Corcoran School of Art. His work has been included in exhibitions such as the Hamburg Tiennial of Photography, “Superman in Bed” at the Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund, Germany as well as “Deep Distance”, at the Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland. He currently is a Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Riverside. Brandon Lattu lives and works in Los Angeles. This is his first New York solo exhibition.