Scoli Acosta: Orpheus Hot / Orpheus Cold at Galerie Laurent Godin Paris

Scoli Acosta’s solo exhibition Orpheus Hot/Orpheus Cold at Galerie Laurent Godin is based on the mobile Night, which was considered from the beginning as a keystone of the project and was made from enlarged images of skateboarders’ hands in mid-flight.

Scoli Acosta was born in 1973 in Los Angeles, where he lives and works. Winner of the Perrier-Jouët Prize for Best Artist in 2008 at the ZOO ART FAIR (London), he graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute (1994) and the Ultimate Akademie, Cologne (1997). Scoli Acosta has been the subject of several solo exhibitions : Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego 2013 ; Armory Center for the Art, Pasadena, California, 2011 ; FRAC Basse Normandie, 2011 ; Laxart Los Angeles.

His artworks can be found in the collections of the LACMA, Los Angeles ; Jumex Colección, Mexico ; MOMA, New York ; Rubell Family Collection, Miami ; FRAC Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur ; FRAC Pays de la Loire, Crac.

Scoli Acosta: Orpheus Hot / Orpheus Cold. Galerie Laurent Godin. Paris, October 17, 2019.

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From the press release:

Scoli Acosta is a storyteller, hunter and finder of objects. He was born in the “Golden State”, Los Angeles, California, land of abundance.

Marked by a strong ecological awareness, his work is built on what he defines as an “aesthetics of resourcefulness”. Rooted in the quotidian, he works with what he finds: recovers, transforms and readapts objects as well as their stories and implied narratives…

Generally doing everything himself with a sensitivity and handmade precision, he developed an organic creative process in which each work calls to mind the next, improbable and magical relationships are woven and highlight the intertwined nature of things and situations. His work emerges as a personal and delicate poetics of the ordinary while taking on the structure of a dream.

The exhibition Orpheus Hot/Orpheus Cold is based on the mobile Night, which was considered from the beginning as a keystone of the project and was made from enlarged images of skateboarders’ hands in mid-flight. The hands, cut out of magazines with scissors, scanned, printed on canvas and stretched on drums, speak for the whole body, they are where they should be, in balance, with the whole, as a mobile often is.

« Having to traverse one room to enter the other made me think of a journey. Traversing Night (mobile) can only lead to the day and vice versa, metaphorically as well as literally. A journey, the mythic journey of Orpheus, traversing the underworld in an attempt to retrieve his love, Eurydice…slowly waking and hearing yourself tell the barista your name is Orpheus. »

The broken rearview mirror in Over/Under/Under/Over is an allusion to the moment when Orpheus, leaving the underworld, turns around and thus condemns Eurydice to remain there. The hand, as if echoing the Night (mobile), seems to come from one room to the other, from the darkness to the world of light.

The work Hades Cornucopia creates a new link within the exhibition. This revered 19th century death mask originally called “L’Inconnue de la Seine” seems like a fitting stand-in for the character of Eurydice. Having been found in the Seine river, no one claimed her body but she was found to be so beautiful, a death mask was made of her and she soon became a popular item for the artists of the time and can be found immortalized in the work of Rilke and Man Ray. In the 50’s this anonymous face became the model for Resusci Anne the CPR doll one practices on to try to bring back to life. The horn or cornucopia attached to her head, symbol of Hades also evokes the ear trumpet that would be used to aid in hearing, in this case she could be listening for the songs of Orpheus…

« The parchment paintings began as a reflection on painted or drawn surfaces and the stretched canvas in particular. They seemed medieval to me once I painted the outline of the parchment and that reminded me of when I lived in Germany in the mid-1990s. During a solar eclipse, I found the people around me coating pieces of glass with candle soot in order to use them as a filter to look directly at the sun. This also seemed medieval to me.

I decided to start each parchment painting with a circle of gold leaf and cover it with candle soot. I then spit on it as a kind of activation of the surface and I use the soot and spit as a drawing material. The idea has evolved and now, I also start with silver leaf circles in reference to the moon. Initially, I wanted these soot and gold leaf paintings to be small poems, but they’ve become pictorial as well. »

The exhibition is crossed by several dichotomies, man and woman, hot and cold, night and day… For instance, the Sum of Its Parts, composed of the meeting of two pentagons (one black and one white) leads to the creation of a third element as when two opposing powers meet. Hearth Spring is a golden box spiked by straws and cigarette butts, synthesizing two of the most elemental and basic of gathering places, fire and water…

The two bust paintings focus on the exchange of the inside and outside of the body with a special attention to the neck or throat. Collars or necklaces delineate the space where we vocalize our internal ideas and the breath makes the transition from outside to inside and inside to outside. Sometimes losing the difference between the two as in the painting of the sun setting over the ocean (Sans Soleil Sold Out, SAMO Pier (collar)), or the internal relief of an effervescent aspirin making the world slightly easier to bear (Effervescent (collar)).

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