A devil to pay

28 Jan — 4 Mar 2017 at the CES Gallery in Los Angeles, United States

A devil to pay, Exhibition view. Courtesy of CES Gallery
A devil to pay, Exhibition view. Courtesy of CES Gallery
13 FEB 2017

CES Gallery is pleased to present A Devil To Pay, the first solo exhibition in Los Angeles by artist duo Ghost of a Dream. Considering desires, Ghost of a Dream collects ephemera discarded in the pursuit of dreams and reassembles this matter into hypnotic visions of cultural identity. Constructing work from materials such as lottery tickets, trophies, travel posters, romance novels, art fair booths, and art shipping crates, Ghost of a Dream transforms these items, supposedly drained of their use-value, into sculpture, video, and two-dimensional meditations on material and symbolic value.

A Devil To Pay features an installation and a set of collages made from casino playing cards and carpets. Ostentatious and often nauseating patterns pad the palatial interiors of casinos, eliminating the sound of your own footsteps while the cacophonic glissandi of electronic chances disorient and enchant. Somehow you can still hear your heart thumping as each brief game plays itself out, endorphins and confusion, a moment of hope that you have found a shortcut to your dreams. You hold cards touched by a hundred dreamers, eventually decommissioned from the hunt, middle-man companies purchase and distribute to prisons. Incarcerated hands punch holes in Queens of Hearts and all the others, sorting them back into decks to be shipped to casino gift shops – a souvenir of that time we didn’t achieve our dreams. Disorientation every step of the way, Ghost of a Dream reifies these markers of neoliberal mechanisms when they become abstract op-art collages, transforming psychological delusions into optical illusions. A Devil To Pay simultaneously quells and reawakens the want-satisfying power of goods and services that help to create American identity.

Ghost of a Dream is the collaborative practice of artists Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was. Eckstrom (b. 1974, Twin Cities, MN) received an MFA in Painting in 2005 and Was (b. 1977, Philadelphia, PA) received an MFA in Sculpture in 2004, both from Rhode Island School of Design. In 2007, Ghost of a Dream was formed and is now based in Wassaic, NY where Eckstrom and Was are involved with the artist-run residency, the Wassaic Project.

The two have also co-founded their own residency in 2015 at Garda Lake in Italy titled ArtGarda. Ghost of a Dream has had solo exhibitions internationally at Davidson Contemporary in New York, NY; Colorado Springs Fine Art Center Museum; Santa Maria Della Vita in Bologna, IT; Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, NJ; and The Freedman Gallery at Albright College in Reading, PA, and are currently represented by Galerie Paris-Beijing in Beijing, CN and Gallerie Christoffer Egelund in Copenhagen, DK. Ghost of a Dream has received support from organizations including New York Foundation for the Arts, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Smack Mellon, The Bemis Center, Vierter Stock Projektraum, Oxbow, International Artists Exchange Program of the Basel Region, and in 2009 they received the Young Masters Art Prize in London. They have been featured in The Guardian, New York Times, Blouin ArtInfo, HyperAllergic, ArtFCity, Huffington Post, World of Interiors, Interview Magazine, Vogue, among others.