A new exhibition takes a look at celebrity, identity and club culture through the lens of the endlessly compelling star
A post entitled, ‘It’s more than clubbing – it’s a lifestyle’, on the LOHAN blog describes a typical night out at Lindsay Lohan’s joint club venture in Athens. It reads, “Everyone seems to have fun while embracing the “yolo vibe” of the night!”
Make of that what you will... while LOHAN closed after seven months, it has since had a phoenix-like rebirth. Fascinated by the (re)opening of this garish superclub, A new exhibition, Lindsay Lohan: The Myth of the Premium Dance Experience, in Hot Wheels Project space takes a long look at celebrity, identity and club culture through the lens of the mysterious, unstable and endlessly compelling star.
Speaking to Julie Gardener about how young Athenians reacted to LOHAN she explained, “Even though LOHAN is located in Gazi, the nightclub hub of Athens, it is so unlike other clubs here. It’s a mega production, defined by total excess – robots on stilts, aerial acrobat dancers and skull-shaped shisha pipes are just the tip of the LOHAN iceberg. In reality, Athenian nightlife is much more stripped down. But it was clear that, within that, there were definitely people that wanted what LOHAN was providing. We went to the club several times and it was always busy and rushing with excitement.”
“(The club is) defined by total excess – robots on stilts, aerial acrobat dancers and skull shaped shisha pipes are just the tip of the LOHAN iceberg” – Julia Gardener
LOHAN stuck out like a sore but perfectly-manicured thumb and this idle curiosity in the club became a springboard for the exhibition itself: “We were fascinated by the opening of LOHAN in Athens – it seemed so bizarre that Lindsay, who our generation grew up watching, was getting involved in the Greek nightlife scene (…) When we started discussing the show with the artists, the club died a premature death, closing after seven months. But then the club mysteriously announced a reopening, so the timing was unexpectedly perfect.”
The show, rather than “critiquing Lindsay Lohan as a person”, makes a conscious effort to engage with her as a muse, “in a more thematic manner, using what she represents to explore broader ideas surrounding mythology, celebrity and the symbolism of the club experience. Seeing celebrity idolatry as a form of modern-day mythology.”
Through the works of artists such as Neoterismoi collective (Orestis Lazouras in collaboration with Isabelle Cook, Marina Xenofontos and Maria Tomazou), Amalia Vekri, and Dylan Spencer-Davidson, the show questions our virtual relationship with celebrities that, in our Instagram age, can feel real or even sensual. Anastasia Pavlou’s work, for example, is a tactile book that, through texture and image, invites visitors to touch, caress and even fondle it, emphasising how, “both physically and metaphorically, social media and reality TV has made celebrities more graspable to the public.”
But the show also tackles the political dimension of club spaces like LOHAN. Spencer-Davidson’s work, in collaboration with dancer Christina Vassilou, was secretly filmed inside the club itself and explores, “idiosyncratic self-expression to static rebellion”. As Gardener explains, the filming occurred on 17 November 2017, the anniversary of when a peaceful student march turned violent in 1973. The hedonistic excess of the club, with its, “laser lighting, fireworks, explosive co2 smoke machines, military robot masks and protest-style hand gestures”, take on a disturbing symmetry to the turmoil outside.
Participating artists include Isabelle Cook, Orestis Lazouras, Anastasia Pavlou, Dylan Spencer-Davidson, Maria Toumazou, Dimitris Tsouanatos, Amalia Vekri, Marina Xenofontos. Lindsay Lohan: The Myth of the Premium Dance Experience runs at the Hot Wheels Projects from 22 November to 15 December