Critics’ Picks

View of “As Above So Below Zero Zero Zero,” 2015.

View of “As Above So Below Zero Zero Zero,” 2015.

Los Angeles

Dylan Mira

Artist Curated Projects
5152 La Vista Court
May 7–June 10, 2015

A perfectly sculpted, slightly larger-than-life-size head of yellow salted butter with the exact face of the artist, including her eyebrows, her lashes, and her hair part carved precisely down a yellowed scalp, is what greeted visitors at the opening of “As Above So Below Zero Zero Zero.” Butterface, 2015, is Dylan Mira’s oleaginous likeness, with eyes serenely closed and a slight smile, that was served up with various loaves of artisanal bread and knives, encouraging viewers to partake. The piece blurs the roles of artist and viewer, as visitors literally consumed her, while problematizing art’s easy consumption. Popular culture’s misogynist references to the fuckability of women (“but her face”), questions of race (is yellowing a whitening?), and the performativity of decomposing things all play about the piece in tides of swelling, conflicted possibility.

Mira’s practice radically multiplies meaning to both resist and critique conventional forms of narrative, the stories they make possible, and those that insist on telling them. Her video A Woman Is Not a Woman, 2015, threads together elements as seemingly disparate as the silence of the Little Mermaid, the beheading of a mermaid statue, female divers of South Korea’s Jeju province, and a mother’s advice on maintaining firm facial skin, opening links among them that disturb as much as they connect. Frames interrupt and obstruct other frames, numbers fall in and out of sequence—what we see diverges constantly from what we hear, and Google fails to translate but instead produces poetics. This is Mira’s world of pleasure and proliferation: the deliberate dismantling of conventional signs and their elements that makes space for meanings and beings that remain yet to come.