By Leah Ollman
7:45 PM EDT, July 5, 2013
Reaction to Andrea Hasler's show at Gusford is inescapably reflexive at first--and not just one reflex is triggered, but two, the polar opposites of attraction and repulsion.
The Swiss-born, London-based artist plays the extremes to creepy, compelling effect. Her show, "Burdens of Excess," leaves a multitude of searing impressions.
Hasler re-fashions high-end designer accessories (mostly handbags and shoes) into grotesque specimens, bulging globs of pink wax studded with brand-name zipper pulls, insignias, straps and handles. Each item is literally given a new body--lumpy, fatty, beaded with droplets that mimic sweat and blood. It looks like Hasler found her sculpting material in the refuse bin of a liposuction clinic.
A few of the pieces, like the "Marc Jacobs Heart" or the gapingly vulvar, unzipped "McQueen Organ," reference actual body parts. In most, the fleshy wax roughly fills out the forms of bags by Bulgari, Dior or Louis Vuitton, or is stuffed, cankles bulging, into pairs of Jimmy Choo and Miu Miu shoes.
Hasler enshrines each of the objects in its own sleek, mirror-based vitrine, the standard showcase for precious retail products, and lines the gallery floor with dark, glittering paper.
The glitzy setting dazzles, while the grossness of the goods dismays. Hasler's ultra-vivid, visceral conflation of refinement and vulgarity amounts to a scathing, pound-of-flesh critique.
GUSFORD Los Angeles, 7016 Melrose Ave., (323) 452-9563, through Aug. 10. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.gusfordgallery.com
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times