Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dangerous Beauty Catalogue essay

Dangerous Beauty

Chelsea Museum

Pallazzo della Arti Napoli

(PAN museum, Naples)


Gae Savannah plays with our desire to worship in a zone where beauty and commerce intersect. Savannah's miniature temples to beauty and exquisitely intricate pagodas allude to the richness of Eastern culture but are entirely constructed from ready made cheap beads and hair trinkets. Savannah purchases all of her materials on frequent trips to both China major (the country) and minor (China Town, New York).

An abundant interplay of plastic, ornaments, baubles, beads and fabrics, Savannah's studio is a "legally blond" fantasy, a veritable oriental market arranged by strict color codes in plastic containers that line every wall. With an avowed distaste for much of art world posturing, Savannah enacts her love for plastic in these deliberately decorative sculptures made, as she described it in another context, in that split second break before sophistication started. The glitz of the sculpture, the immediate level on which it resonates, is the glittery world of make-up, models, artifice and surface. The work preens its exteriority like a star on the red carpet, twirling and posing so the cameras can capture the gown. Like celebrity and the beauty culture, her sculptures thrive in the glow of strong light, presenting themselves for the sweet edification of our eyes and tempt with their surface.

We must imagine and draw conclusions about what must lie inside from our intentionally limited engagement with the exterior. Savannah states, " I'm parodying our anointing something as a revered relic or shrine, but at the same time I feel the trickster game is wearing thin."

--------Manon Slome, curator 5-07