March 15 – April 16, 2006
LACE is pleased to present Circulation and Light Visit, a two-part installation by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Hagen, organized by LACE Program Coordinator Karl Erickson. Circulation and Light Visit are made to be viewable from the sidewalk 24/7 to constantly offer an art experience to Hollywood Boulevard passersby.
Circulation, is a free poster distribution project with an accompanying installation on LACE’s storefront windows. The project documents dozens of attempts by animals to escape from zoos that ended in failure: either the animal was returned to captivity or died. Designed with clean, friendly blocks of color, the poster belies the tragic stories it reports. Hagen’s window project features selected escape stories, using these wistful narratives to activate this highly visible border of LACE’s space and the metaphorical boundaries contemporary artists seek to transcend. The poster, installed outside of LACE, is free for the taking.
Light Visit, two large chalk drawings on LACE’s front-of-house chalkboards, features Koko, the gorilla who “speaks” through the use of American Sign Language. Hagen has taken two of Koko’s many learned signs and combined them into a new phrase that is a poetic description of the installation itself, mirroring Koko’s often unique word combinations to describe her world. In striking white chalk against dark green, Koko signs to the public passersby outside on the street, silently reaching out to them.
Artist and writer Todd Bourret writes that Hagen “is at odds with the emotions [he elicits]… which in turn clouds the fact that the stories are analogies for the work itself: a conflicted, perhaps futile attempt to break free from its burdensome context, to operate outside of expectations.” Hagen’s work is often about these refusals to accept limits and endeavors for transcendence.
Mark Hagen has been exhibited and screened in Los Angeles, New York, Paris, London, Glasgow and Helsinki. His most recent exhibition was Futurism Restated Again with Todd Bourret and Jeff Kopp at Blum & Poe/Rental Gallery. Circulation and Light Visit is his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Mark Hagen was born in Falls Church, VA and received his MFA from CalArts in 2002.