Artist: Dave Hullfish Bailey
Venue: Mesler & Hug, Los Angeles
Date: November 21, 2008 – January 10, 2009
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Mesler&Hug is pleased to present the second solo exhibition at the gallery by Dave Hullfish Bailey. Presenting new installation works, Bailey continues his focus and exploration of experimental models for society and environmental structures. In this exhibition, the current project was inspired by two locations: Slab City and the Netherlands. Both places share a history of water irrigation. Slab City is located in the Imperial Valley, close to the Salton Sea in California. The Salton Sea was the end point of the irrigation system for the water in the Imperial Valley until the natural salts overpowered the fresh water in the land prevented it from having use. Now, it is a valley that has almost no use and has been mostly abandoned, and Slab City was created and claimed in part as a kind of democratic utopia. In contrast, the future cities in the Netherlands were under water and after time revealed land that was established by integrating the canals and making use of them. Ditch/School explores the idea of a community working together to create establishments from need, as well as the natural and social histories of these places.
Bailey has taken elements of information, education and production and created installations that convey examples of the production and consumption of knowledge. He sites an ad-hoc library in Slab City, the high school in Imperial Valley, the reading desk at the Rietveld Schoder House and the workers’ reading room by Rodchenko presented in the world expo in Paris (1925) as creations that empowered the individuals of the communities because they were ways of receiving information.
The physical aspect of the project are these stations that will be evolving throughout the run of the exhibition: one that irrigates water and creates ditches, another where Palo Verde trees grow until they are transported and a third that is a reading area of the information presented. These stations act as “tools” for ‘informational architecture.’ However, all of the tools and components of these stations use the ‘wrong tools’ to do the job: saw horses to hold lights, a bench as a desk and a latter used as a support to drain water at different speeds. The photocopied images that surround the stations are images of the Slab City library where more books are donated and less are checked out, essentially altering the structure based on the amount of books that it houses.
Dave Hullfish Bailey lives and works in Los Angeles. Bailey is currently finishing a book, What’s Left, which explores the ideas presented in Ditch/School. It will be published by Sternberg Press, Berlin and CASCO Office for Art Design and Theory, Utrecht. Past exhibitions include What’s left to its own devices, CASCO, Utrecht, Elevator, The Secession in Vienna (2006), Banding Station, IBID Projects London (2004), and Schindler Shelter, Düsseldorf, Germany (2002). Select Group exhibitions include shows at the Lyon Biennale (2007), P.S. 1 in New York (2002) Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen (2001) and upcoming exhibitions at Raven Row, London (September 2009) and a group exhibition curated by Anthony Huberman at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, (2009).