Alex Israel’s solo exhibition ‘Cut-Outs’ has just opened at Carl Kostyál Stockholm the Los Angeles artist’s second solo with the gallery.
This show is the closest I’ve come to presenting a body of works on paper. I use the term ‘works on paper’ lightly because Sintra is thin but it is not exactly paper, there is no hand in the works (the medium is usually associated with the handmade/intimate touch of the artist) and because the works are not studies (another common function of the work on paper). My cutouts are more works ‘in’ paper, as they are sculptural in their stacked/layered compositions, as opposed to being images on flat sheet-like surfaces.
Their ‘drawing’ is accomplished using computer graphics and a laser cutter. And they are painted with airbrushed acrylic paint before their parts are assembled/adhered together. The color palette is inspired by Matisse’s Jazz Portflio (a book of prints made from his “cut-outs” or cut-paper collages ). The “Solo” Self-Portrait graphic was used to announce my 2019 show at ReenaSpaulings, in which my holographic avatar performed a jazz solo on alto saxophone—hence the connection to Matisse’s jazz portfolio.
My self-portraits and waves are my most iconic symbols/graphics/logos, which came out of my onlineAlex Israel
talk-show As It Lays and my teen surf movie SPF-18, respectively…and the fin is a newer addition to
my lexicon (it first appeared as an appendage to my Louis Vuitton handbag, and then as the “A” in my
LA 2028 Olympics Logo.
A wave of selfies, self- branding, and visibility was just appearing on the horizon, and I decided to surf it. I embraced the logo as a symbol for my work, embraced myself as a brand, and ultimately brought Self-Portrait into the world as an art object and also as a sticker, a billboard, a mural, a postcard, a pin, a keychain, and a luggage tag.– Alex Israel, Garage, May 2020
Alex Israel began his iconic Self-Portrait series in 2011. The first Self-Portrait was originally conceived as a digital logo for his online talk show As It Lays, which features Los Angeles-based celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith amongst many other luminaries.
Israel’s graphic silhouette wearing sunglasses by Freeway Eyewear – the brand he founded in 2010 – was soon developed into a series of bright-coloured paintings produced in fiberglass and airbrushed acrylic paint – materials used to make surfboards and movie sets in LA.
I wanted my Self-Portrait to look and feel like Los Angeles,”
explains the artist,
to capture that stardust in my work.
Alex Israel’s Self Portrait became both a self- promoting logo as well as an exploration of everything exciting and trite about the Southern California’s aesthetic.
Alex Israel, Cut Outs, 23rd September — 9th October 2022, Carl Kostyál Stockholm
About the artist
Alex Israel (b. 1982) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He received a BA in 2003 from Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and an MFA in 2010 from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include The Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach (2021); Fosun Foundation, Shanghai (2021); Greene Naftali, New York (2019); MAMO, Marseille (2019); Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2016); The Jewish Museum, New York (2016); and Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2015). His first solo exhibition at Carl Kostyál was in Stockholm in 2013 at the gallery’s former space
His work is in the collection of the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.