Critics’ Picks

Genevieve Belleveau, Pressed, 2018, video, color, silent, 3 minutes 38 seconds.

Los Angeles

Genevieve Belleveau

Garden
1345 Kellam Avenue
October 27 - February 3

Genevieve Belleveau’s solo exhibition “Circlusion” centers on a performance in which the artist vacuum-seals a participant adorned with fresh flowers inside a latex covering. At the opening, Belleveau herself was sheathed in the BDSM habit of a latex bodysuit and boots to facilitate the process, titled Vac-Bed Pressed Floral Arrangement Demo (all works, 2018). But the tone of the demo, completed with performers Iggy Soliven and Themba Alleyne, was more mutualistic than hierarchical: The seams of the bed were checked and rechecked, the air flow was tested, and decisions about the placement of angiosperms were unhurried.

To be sealed is to be fixed in place, with both the pleasure of certainty—here I am—and the fear of death (has the device been set up properly?). The video Pressed elaborates on this spectrum of experience. From an aerial perspective, the camera repeatedly moves away from a series of human Ikebana in widening circles, expanding into a topographic view of an LA neighborhood, a man-made geography with a network of houses, freeways, and choking smog. This gyre animates the exhibition with a sense of dislocation and heightened sensuality as the freedoms and unfreedoms of aesthetic, ritual submission give way to the freedoms and unfreedoms of the city grid. As the titular term circlusion (defined on the press release as “a proposed antonym of the term penetration”) reminds us, active and passive roles are interconnected and necessarily relative, which suggests that that the reciprocity animating Belleveau’s intimate, physical performance might also liven the superorganism that is the social body.