Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present "Bulgogi," a new mixed media installation by Jorge Pardo.
Pardo merges art, design, and architecture, drawing on the historical intersections of these disciplines from the Bauhaus to Robert Smithson while interrogating the conventional uses of public and private space. His diverse production range from hand-crafted furniture evoking Modernist designers such as Alvar Aalto and Charles Eames to large-scale, site-specific projects such as the house he designed in 1998 for an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and subsequently moved into. In his designs for both the Mountain Bar in Los Angeles and the lobby and bookshop of the former Dia Foundation for the Arts in New York, Pardo re-imagined public spaces as vivid aesthetic environments. Although his works are not easily categorized, he considers himself to be a sculptor, transforming traditional gallery spaces into installations that often combine his own designs for rugs, lamps, and furniture with paintings to prompt a reevaluation of their respective functions and significance and thus further dissolve the boundaries between art and life.
Bulgogi is the name given to a traditional Korean dish of marinated, barbequed beef, which Pardo uses here as a metaphor for Korean immigration and cultural assimilation in Los Angeles. Transforming the gallery into a domestic environment, Pardo creates a "drawing room" using a kaleidoscopic patterned rug of his own design and wallpaper based on a photo-collage of local Korean-Americans. The wallpaper includes scrapbook images framed by graphic flower cutouts, an evolution of a previous wallpaper installation that mapped the social history of Los Angeles. A series of vibrantly colored "fan paintings" on canvas, based on computer-generated abstractions evokes the push-pull dynamic of modernist abstraction, while a newly designed jewelry cabinet filled with idiosyncratic bracelets, rings and necklaces made of plastic, wood, gold, pearls and diamonds is an adaptation of Pardo's own earlier designs in the new context of the unifying cabinet display and gallery space. This gesture is intended to parallel the assimilation and adaptation of the immigrant population over time.
Jorge Pardo was born in Havana, Cuba in 1963 and studied at the University of Illinois, Chicago and received his BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions including "4166 Sea View Lane," Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1998); Fundació "la Caixa," Barcelona (2004); "House," Miami MoCA North (2007), traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2008); K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (2009); and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (2010). Architectural projects and non-art specific spaces have included creating a café for the Leipzig Messe in Germany, a restaurant for the K21 Museum, and the re-design of the installation for the pre-Columbian collection at LACMA. His work is part of numerous public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York and Tate Modern, London.
That former notion of inside and outside is completely reformulating itself. It happens in a very blunt way - you go to a gallery and then you go outside and realize that the garbage you are looking at on the ground is more interesting, or the car you're getting into. One of the reasons I became interested in the functional was precisely because of that problematic.