If you were to look at the city of Los Angeles from a satellite’s perspective, one would note that the sprawling suburbs and knotted tangle of roads and highways resemble the vascular system of the human body. Pumping full of life, the bright lights in the City of Angels are fueled by Buried Sunshine, or the subject of FLAUNT-alumni Julian Charrière’s first solo exhibition at Sean Kelly, Los Angeles.
The city’s covert status as the world’s largest urban oil field takes the main stage as the discovery of petroleum at the turn of the 19th century changed the fate of the coastal city, resulting in rapid industrialization and fueling the flicking lights of the Hollywood image-making machine.
Charrière’s latest work continues the artist’s experiments within the medium of photography, employing heliograph in this latest project. Using a light sensitive emulsion that incorporates naturally occurring tar from the La Brea, McKittrick, and Carpinteria Tar Pits in California to create imprints of local oil fields from an aerial perspective that only the city’s divine namesake are privy to.
Charrière’s latest work is akin to capturing lightning in a bottle, depicting the moment of rapid industrialization through the use of photography, film and sculpture. It holds up a black mirror of crude oil and obsidian for the viewer to reflect on the relationship between the natural world and constructed human mythos.
Buried Sunshine is on view now at Sean Kelly, Los Angeles through November 4th.
Read our interview with Julian Charrière from the Critical Mass Issue HERE.