Denk gallery is pleased to announce Garmonbozia Sagrada, featuring new works by Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist Ichiro Irie. In this body of work, Irie returns to the films that have shaped and influenced his youth, considering the lasting impact they have had on our shared cultural consciousness and visual imaginary.
Irie has been exploring themes of destruction and ruin in his works since 2008. His meticulously detailed ink drawings of junkyards, crashed cars, and other unexpected sites of contemporary destruction, pair brilliant technical facility with a brooding interest in the darker cultural dimensions of consumption and waste. The car, for instance, has figured prominently throughout his works as a trope for the dystopian disappointment of the unchecked potential of progress. The speed and self-determinism the car's early manufacture promised have now culminated in irrevocable environmental decimation in the late capitalist moment. Irie captures the profusion of this unsustainable excess in chaotic scenes that feel like post-apocalyptic fiction.
The exhibition will feature a series of these junkyard drawings alongside a large-format ink on canvas work, the companion piece to another currently part of the Transpacific Borderlands exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum in LA, part of Pacific Standard Time LAxLA and on view until February 25, 2018. In addition to these ink drawings are new sculpturally rendered "paintings" from the artist's Imposter series. These tactile panels reference iconic films and are created entirely from molded poster putty. In these "Imposters," Irie references objects and symbols drawn from films like Stanley Kubrick's ode to über-violence A Clockwork Orange, Ridley Scott's futuristic neo-noir Blade Runner, and Spike Lee's 1989 racially charged classic about the hottest day of the year in the North Central borough of Brooklyn, among others.
The objects depicted in these works stand alone, however, divorced from scene and context, but elicit powerful associations nonetheless outside of their cinematic frame. Addressing the visually enduring impact of the symbols from these films on our collective cultural memory, Irie engages cinematic iconography as something significantly emblematic. Though varied, the shared motif amongst all of the movies cited by Irie is the powerful aestheticization of libidinal drives and death impulses, unchecked by regulatory, social mores. Irreverently heightened by an apocalyptic prescience, many of these films seem to have anticipated the dysfunctional futurity with which we are now faced in the 21st Century.
The exhibition title Garmonbozia Sagrada is drawn from two films that have endured in Ichiro's imagination. "Garmonbozia," from David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, is the creamed corn that appears metaphorically as evil sustenance and referred to interchangeably throughout the film as both corn and "pain and sorrow." "Sagrada," on the other hand, is taken from the title of the visually dazzling 1973 Mexican surrealist film by Alexandro Jodorowsky, La montaña sagrada, or The Holy Mountain. The combination of the two references aptly invokes the strange coexistence of the sacred, profane, and absurd, a tendency towards promiscuous merger and contradiction shared by so much of Irie's impactful work.
Ichiro Irie completed a B.A at University of California Santa Barbara, and an M.F.A at Claremont Graduate University, California. He has exhibited extensively internationally and is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship. Irie is owner and Director of artist-run space JAUS in Los Angeles, and co-founder of the artist collective Cacahuates Japoneses, founded in Mexico City in 2002.
Irie has curated over forty exhibitions at venues such as the 18th Street Arts Center and Raid Projects in Los Angeles, Art & Idea and MUCA Roma in Mexico City, Campbell Works in London, Videor Art Foundation in Frankfurt, and Kyubidou Gallery in Tokyo. He currently teaches at Oxnard College.