Digi pop art gets anthropological at West Lane South's latest excavation of modern life
LA-born artist Lauren Elder's first UK exhibition hits London this week. Tribe 2 Tribe will explore the role of art within an anthropoligical context and the symbolism of cultures estranged by distance - fusing painted materials, commercial logos and interacting objects. Having recently received her BFA in Fine Arts, Lauren also moonlights within art-collective, Miami Dutch, a mysterious ensemble of self-evasive characters.
"When faced with uncertainty, individuals continually organize themselves within their group-based reality and respond within that reality." Weick, 1995.
With the show opening this week, Dazed speaks to Lauren about the anthropological inspirations behind her work.
DD: What made you choose London over LA for the show?
Lauren Elder: Amy Knight approached me initially about exhibiting at West Lane South and it seemed like a great opportunity to realize my ideas. The geography of doing a show in London vs. LA didn’t initially factor into it, but it became interesting as I had to create the work in a way that could be segmented and shipped in separate pieces, and that process began to inform and reinforce the ideas I was already working with.
Dazed Digital: What started Tribe to Tribe?
Lauren Elder: It stemmed from an interest in “symbolic behavior” as a way to initiate, categorize, and map our behavior socially and subconsciously with objects. We engage the iconography of contemporary consumerism on either a transparent or a dependent level and yet there’s always a space left between, a subconscious artifact that remains behind.
DD: Have you ever studied any anthropology before? Or is this just purely a fascination you've always had that prompted you to cover this?
Lauren Elder: I’ve never actually studied it, but it relates directly to Tribe 2 Tribe. I’ve approached the subject more casually and become fascinated by our growing responsibility, or lack thereof, to fully utilize the icons, designs, and textures that consumer objects have given us. Our relationship to the commercial and technological systems we’ve built has blurred, and with digital processes new functions and new forms can be personalized and created intuitively. Any mass-produced object can operate as an extraction point for the creation of new information.
DD: Tell us more about Miami Dutch? Do you collaborate on pieces or just exhibit together?
Lauren Elder: We’re a collective - recently rebranded from No New Info to Miami Dutch. It’s myself, Andre and Evan Lenox, Brian Khek and Micah Schippa. With No New Info we curated ourselves into a show, while Miami Dutch now functions as a fully collaborative entity, a corps collectif, that abandons individual authorship. Our slogan from our anthem is “One Body, One hand.”
DD: What's next after Tribe 2 Tribe?
Lauren Elder: I’m releasing a book and e-book with Rachael Milton and Sua Yoo that creates a fictional narrative incorporating sculptures and comics. Plus I'm doing Mawu-Lisa II, a group show curated by Amalia Ulman where I’ll be reinterpreting traditional flower paintings with a commercial plastic aesthetic, and Jasper Spicero’s project Open Shape, where I’m creating models of liquid wearable forms.
Tribe 2 Tribe runs from 19th September-26th October at West Lane South in Bermondsey. as part of the Art Licks weekend. Find out more here.