For the past 20 years Elliott Hundley’s Chinatown studio has grown to resemble a living sculpture. Layer upon layer of cultural debris and ephemera help to form the intricate narratives that Hundley crafts in his work. In his current show, Echo, on now at Regen Projects, the artist takes us inside his practice, recreating part of his studio to frame his collages, paintings, ceramics and chandeliers on display.
Born in 1975, Hundley holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. His work has been presented at leading international institutions including SFMOMA, LACMA & the Guggenheim.
Flaunt sat down with Hundley during Frieze Art Week to discuss his latest show:
An artist’s studio can be such an intimate space. How did the idea of recreating part of your practice in the gallery come about?
I consider my home/studio my largest work of art. It’s an ecosystem that generates creativity for me like a garden. My shows in the past have been about specific works of literature. I thought bringing a bit of the studio into the gallery could be a way to show more of the material process, my thinking, and even just more of my own life.
Photos of friends and family feature as characters across many of your pieces. What draws you to incorporating people close to you in your work?
I love layers and simultaneity because they reflect the complexity of contemporary life. Having my mother play the part of Medea in a piece is a way to have two subjects at once, one cultural and another personal—and of course the distinctions between those ideas aren’t always a hard line.
From ceramics to furniture, you’re no stranger to collaboration. I’ve heard there is an interesting backstory to the piece Echo, could you tell us a bit more about how that collaboration came to be?
My friends gave me an unruly African gray parrot named Echo recently. He is so smart that he has to stay busy. One day while exploring my work table he snatched a piece of foam out of my hand and started ripping it apart. Now I give him sculpture projects, so he doesn't destroy my life! We sit and work side by side every day now.
You’ve spoken about recognizing beauty in the discarded and resuscitating dead images. What was an unexpected object/photo that you’ve found beauty in recently?
While preparing for this show I found a McDonald’s french fry container outside my house. I think I ran over it countless times with my car before I noticed it. It's on display in a vitrine among my dearest keepsakes at the gallery right now. I think that I’ll keep it for the rest of my life to remind me of this moment.