The Marciano Art Foundation opened two eye-catching and mesmerizing new exhibits this month. Danish-born, Icelandic interdisciplinary artist Olafur Eliasson developed a dynamic visual and sonic light installation, “Reality projector,” specifically for the facility’s Theater Gallery. “Line Packers,” the second exhibition, merges the works of two German artists, Peppi Bottrop and Albert Oehlen, into a visually intriguing presentation of a different reality. The two exhibits employ vastly different mediums and illustrate how the one-year-old Los Angeles facility is trying to differentiate itself from the other art museums in town.
Projecting a Colorful Reality
Eliasson’s ostensibly simple, yet complex large-scale installation covers one 40-foot-high wall of the 13,500 square-foot theater. It offers visitors a unique visual experience as his “Reality projector” shines geometric blocks of shifting, colorful light filtered through the vast open space. Eliasson’s use of light and color reflect his interests in perception and how people engage space.
Visitors enter the black box theater through a set of double blackout curtains. The room, which used to seat 2,000, is completely gutted and empty, except for visitors standing (or sitting on the concrete floor) and absorbing the shadows, colors, and angles displayed. The geometric blocks of varying sizes drift across the screen outlined in black, accompanied by clanging chain noises and recurrent thuds. There is also a balcony view off the Mezzanine that offers visitors a panoramic view of Eliasson’s installation and its setup. Reportedly, someone could stay in the theater all day and never see the same visual pattern twice.
Lines Show Black and White Reality
Conceived by German art journalist Cornelius Tittel, “Line Packers” combines black and white creations by Bottrop and Oehlen. They pieces go together amazingly well.
Bottrop’s line-drawing paintings were developed as a meditation on his hometown, a formerly prosperous coal mining and rail center. He uses graphite and charcoal as a metaphor for the area’s ore on huge slabs of Fermacell, which is used now in institutional construction instead of sheetrock or gypsum.
Oehlen’s abstract computer-generated paintings are affixed to Bottrop’s walls. Oehlen was a pioneer in exploring the possibilities early home computers offered for drawing and line-making.
Combined, the two artist’ works appear mutually dependent and complementary. The resulting “Line Packers” exhibition is as visually intriguing as Eliasson’s.
Marciano Art Foundation
The other galleries at the Marciano Art Foundation, or MAF, feature pieces from the multimillion-dollar art collection amassed by Guess Jeans founders Paul and Maurice Marciano. The Marcianos opened the MAF in 2017 in a vast three-story building that formerly housed a Scottish Rite Masonic Temple. It is renovated as a contemporary art space with a variety of gallery areas. Their collection contains over 1,500 works by over 200 artists, only some of which are displayed at the Marciano Art Foundation at any time to allow space for innovative installations like the different realities projected in the two new exhibits.
Los Angeles has a growing wealth of museums and galleries that opened in the last few years or under construction. The Marciano Art Foundation is located in the Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. The Marciano Art Foundation is open Thursday through Sunday. While there is no charge for admission, advance tickets reserved online are recommended.
By Dyanne Weiss
Exhibition visit Feb. 28
Marciano Art Foundation Announces Next Artist Project OLafur Eliasson: Reality Projector
Marciano Art Foundation Announces Special Exhibition: Albert Orlen/Peppi Bottrop Line Packers
Los Angeles Times: Artist Olafur Eliasson built a ‘Reality projector’ of smashing beauty
Photos by Dyanne Weiss of Eliasson’s “Reality projector” screen and filters, as well as a piece by Bottrop and Oehlen