Amanda Ross-Ho

Amanda Ross-Ho talks about her show at the MoCA Pacific Design Center

View of Amanda Ross-Ho’s studio, June 2012.

“TEENY TINY WOMAN” is the first solo museum exhibition in Los Angeles by Amanda Ross-Ho. On view at the MoCA Pacific Design Center from June 23 to September 23, this show finds Ross-Ho characteristically spanning the disciplines of sculpture, photography, collage, and installation in a deliberately self-referential project that draws from and remixes her own output and artistic history of the past several years.

THE IDEA OF THE RETROACTIVE GAZE is a consistent factor in my work, but not in the sense of cultivating historical distance or nostalgia; it is more a backward way of thinking, an understanding of something by turning it upside down or inside out. Dissection. So the invitation to prepare a survey exhibition simply afforded me an opportunity to broaden the arc of a rigorous investigation that was already heavily evolved in my output. For some time now I have been reaching back into the origins of my own production—extracting, cannibalizing, and translating forms. For me this is less a reclamation or recuperation of individual artifacts as it is a way of mapping the structure and scale of the bigger project as a large holistic organism with a looping logic. In a way, my entire practice is a “survey” of sorts, and typically I employ an omnipotent point of view. This exhibition aims to perform this infinite regress/progress through a heightened or somewhat hyperbolic theater of my own activity.

Since I moved to Los Angeles in 2004, I have been interested in the idea of collapsing authentic gesture with authored or performed gesture. I guess initially I thought I was proposing that the two were one and the same. More recently I think I have located the distinction that rather through their collapse, a third, more compelling form emerges: a hyperaware activity that embodies intuition and immediacy as well as total intentionality and consciousness. I’m invested in cultivating a scenario in which I play the roles of maker and observer, oscillating between these roles to create slippage between the subjective and the objective.

The architectural schema for my MoCA exhibition is a reiteration of a large installation I made in 2008 for the California Biennial. In this work, Frauds for an Inside Job, I excavated the walls of my studio and imported them into the museum, presenting their accumulated residue of activity as formal compositions. For MoCA, I’m performing a “looping theater” or inversion of this. I had walls built at the museum to the exact perimeter and height measurement of my studio, and then had those walls moved to my space. Ultimately, the structure of the exhibition is a result of embedding layered redundancies into the work. The architectural exchange repeats the grand gesture of that former artwork, permanently altering the singularity of reception for both projects. Within this context, individual images and objects enact similar repetitions that mediate my immediate surroundings as well as the vocabulary I’ve cultivated.

Within the individual images and objects in the show there are recontextualized versions of former artworks, reflexive references to my existing lexicon, and found stand-ins for works from my own creative history. There are also direct translations of primal gestures and there are forms located within incredibly recent popular culture that find root in something personal or intimate. In this sense I am interested in deboning time and suggesting something more cyclical, organic, and multidirectional. For this show I made a diptych, UNTITLED ONE AND UNTITLED TWO, which is a direct translation of a pair of paintings I made when I was four years old. The process of laboriously re-creating the intuitive marks made by my own hand thirty-three years ago was an intense exercise in muscle memory and regression. For me this creates a loop between my current production and the deep origins of my practice.

After I had worked within this doubled studio lining for several months (producing work for this show and other projects), the walls again accumulated authentic activity but also afforded the opportunity to perform gestures onto their surfaces in anticipation of their eventual exhibition in the same manner. This created a self-conscious space of intentionality, in which I was extremely mindful of every move, and every gesture became meaningful. In addition to producing the works you will see in the show, I made several large-scale pieces directly on the wall surfaces and then removed them, leaving only their residue. I will release these works within other projects at a future date. I love the idea that in the future, by closely examining the long view of the work, you could identify this reversal. To me this strengthens the bones of the work. It’s a method of decentering by scrambling the sequences of production and reception, and allowing access to the absence or trace of something before being given access to its primary form.