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There has been a disaster: a nuclear meltdown or some other man-made destructive event. Spilling across the floor a molten layer of blue resin captures eggshells, palm fronds and smashed electronic devices. Like the primordial ooze of the La Brea Tar pits entombing the detritus of our age for posterity—or just an archetypal L.A. swimming pool littered with debris after a high school rager—Laure Prouvost’s installation exemplifies the toxic post-apocalyptic possibilities of Los Angeles’s landscape.
Located in the center of the spill, an oasis of two bucket seats, shaded by wilting palms, awaits the viewer to recline while watching Lick in the Past (2016), Prouvost’s video meditation on adolescence and Los Angeles. As a European in the City of Angels, Prouvost is fascinated with Southern California car culture; the loose narrative thread of the work centers on a group of teenagers in a car as they hang out, cruise aimlessly, and talk about the adventures they hope to someday have.
The teens hopeful dialogue of longing and fantasy is intertwined with a viscous, sensual world of Prouvost’s making. Topics include raw eggs, squirting milk, and sea creatures, while intermingling visuals of udders, tentacles and slippery leeks cut in (all in Prouvost’s snappy, signature editing style). Sex and violence are repeatedly broached from the innocent sucking of tits to the more disturbing biting off the head of a bird. Actual footage of strangers performing these events flare up on screen; meanwhile the teens live out their wild fantasies with a safe caressing of the hard body of their vehicle and the licking their iPhones; a PG-13 counterpoint to the raw and surreal imagery of the interspersed cuts. Taken as a whole the installation reads as a love letter to the rawness and angst of our pubescent psyches as well as an ode to Los Angeles in all its toxic yet alluring glory.
Laure Prouvost: A Way to Leak, Lick, Leek runs from January 31–April 9, 2016 at Fahrenheit (2254 E. Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90021).