ASHES/ASHES is pleased to announce TH+, the Los Angeles debut solo exhibition by Detroit-based artist Tony Hope. The exhibition will be on view November 14 – December 30, 2015 with an opening reception on Saturday, November 19, from 6–8pm.
A series of interrelated, environmental gestures harmonize to condition the gallery with the texture of a body violated. Organized by an intimate relation with the formation of an identity, they speak of a loyalty to family and homeland, measured by that which is not. Therein you may find the contents listed below:
Untitled (Living Room)
Alien-green, ambient light from outside the darkened gallery seeps through the thin cracks of vertical blinds to provide just enough illumination to make out what appears to be a space shut down, abandoned and stripped. Electrical outlets have been removed along with the face plates for the central air duct — dark mouths left exposed in a frozen gape.
Two red and blue bands delineate the white walls of the gallery’s container in homage to the artist’s high school’s hallways.
A collection of black t-shirts belonging to the artist, banners announcing his cultural allegiances, are now flayed and displayed, evidence to the many nights of sweat produced by a body amongst bodies. Relics here, they hang unnatural and stiff, impregnated with polyurethane and sealed in Mod Podge.
Towards the back and off to the side of the gallery’s central chamber a monitor hangs from the ceiling, its face to the wall. A video compilation plays a loop of retail marketing department selected music videos, promos, and commercials, sourced from his time at suburban mall alt-culture emporium Journeys.
Impaled on a metal stake, a severed head (the only figurative object in the installation) recreates the character Hugh from the series Star Trek: The Next Generation cast in the artist’s likeness. In the episode ‘I, Borg,’ Hugh is detached from the group consciousness of the Borg hive mind and faced with the challenge to develop an identity apart from the Collective. Watching him struggle to interact with the ship’s crew members, the Enterprise-D’s Chief Medical Officer, Beverly Crusher, remarks: “If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was scared.”
The gallery’s bathroom has undergone an extreme makeover by the artist, mimicking the style and taste of a Mid-Western mother’s dream bathroom; the rustic shelves display items inspired by the artist’s family, simulating the comforts of home.
“Every history is a history of the present. We are an audience, watching ourselves act in a play that is always—already happened; in this condition, one cannot be an author to the events as they occur, but only within it as a witness to a fictional framework for the fatal moment (the event) as it occurs. There is a great desire within fiction to harness the power to speak the truth — enacted by the gaze of the audience made up by the people who populate the moment. As strangers pulled together for a brief moment, one can be free to act from the truth of that which is experienced.”
— Erin Henry, Brooklyn, NY, 2015
Tony Hope (born 1989; in Redford, MI) received his BFA in Fine Arts at Center for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI, and his MFA in Sculpture from Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT. Recent exhibitions include: ICP Retrospective at Sam’s Space in New Haven, CT (2015); PEARLITE at WAKE, New Haven, CT (2014); salt & vinegar at Queer Thoughts, Chicago, IL (2013); and HEADCHEESE at Tubman Center, Detroit, MI (2012). He currently lives and works in Livonia, MI.