To View a Plastic FlowerFebruary 13—April 19, 2020
To View a Plastic Flower installation view, 2020. image courtesy of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. photo: Jeff McLane.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) presented To View a Plastic Flower, a an exhibition that featured new video and multimedia installations by Abigail Raphael Collins, T. Kim-Trang Tran and Samira Yamin that explored themes of interconnectivity, perspectivism, and the poetics (and politics) of conflict. Central to the exhibitions title and themes was Buddhist monk and anti-war activist Thích Nhất Hạnh’s idea of “inter-being”, meaning nothing can exist by itself and everything has to “inter-be”.
Abigail Raphael Collins’ experimental documentary and video installation, Out of Play, was presented across four projections on repurposed set designs to investigate the relationship between the entertainment industry and U.S. military as well as the fictions constructed in the absence of information.
Projected on hand embroidered screens, T. Kim-Trang Tran’s three-channel video installation, titled Movements: Battles and Solidarity, coalesced the seemingly disparate events of early 1970s high fashion, labor unrest, and the Vietnam War by exploring their shared socio-political and physical “movements”.
The sculptural work in Samira Yamin’s Passing Obliquely From One Medium Into Another series examined contemporary war photography by manipulating the viewership of mass media through carved optical glass.
Taken together, these installations offered an opportunity to consider and exercise site – whether within the civic space of Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the image magic created by Hollywood, or the greater, postmodern landscape of the U.S. – and the material aspects of viewing and being.