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Soft Opening to produce five exhibitions in Los Angeles. - FAD Magazine

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Soft Opening to produce five exhibitions in Los Angeles.

Soft Opening at Paul Soto Los Angeles 2271 West Washington Blvd, Los Angeles Image courtesy of Soft Opening and Paul Soto, Los Angeles Photography: Paul Salveson

Soft Opening has announced a new collaboration with Paul Soto, commencing this month. Soft Opening will produce a programme of five exhibitions over the course of ten months at Paul Soto Los Angeles on West Washington Boulevard while Soto focuses on opening a second gallery space on New York’s West 27th Street.

Jasmine Gregory Expect The Expected No. 1, 2023 Oil, glitter, rhinestones, moths on linen 100 x 140 cm (39 1/3 x 55 in) © Jasmine Gregory Courtesy the artist and Sophie Tappeiner, Vienna

Titled Unlife, Soft Opening’s inaugural exhibition at the space is curated by LA-based gallery artist Maren Karlson and will include work by Sarah Pucci, Brook Hsu, Jennifer Shear, Sophie Friedman- Pappas, Jasmine Gregory and Martin Wong.

Jasmine Gregory Bundle No. 10, 2023 Painting (oil, string, glitter, on linen), rubber glove, hanger 88 x 55 cm (34 5/8 x 21 5/8 in) © Jasmine Gregory Courtesy of the artist and Karma International Zurich Photography: Sebastian Ledenmann

Speaking on the curatorial approach to Unlife, Maren Karlson explains,

Construction of perfection always happens in unison with its destruction. When I think of painting, I do not think of keeping something clean, immaculate, unsoiled, pure, sealed, and in its perfect original’ state. We make images and objects out of detritus and refuse, assembling and reassembling, and through this process merging with the world – muddying the boundaries of bodies, inorganic objects, and landscape.

Amidst the ever-presence of death, yearning for a flawless utopia seems to represent a survival strategy. We work hard to distance ourselves from mortality by cultivating eternal youth. Never letting patina accumulate, we invent rituals to forget death, sealing our bodies off from contamination to keep them pure and maintain the boundaries between interior/exterior and self/other, while celebrating the illusion
of immortality by prioritizing the spectacle of the individual. When our idea of utopia becomes one of physical and spiritual cleanliness, and cleanliness has become equal to god-given health and immortality, the literal meaning of utopia is lost: it has become the opposite of a non-place, with its borders defined, rigid and exclusive.

Instead of trying to forget death and forever failing to do so, how can one sit with the melancholia of the body’s entropy? Who or what is in control of the body, what does this apparatus look like, and how does it shape a body’s possibility of experiencing itself? How can one use the body as a tool for inquiry, rather than solely experiencing it as a site of chaos in need of order? How can we do so without either being
paralyzed by despair, or dissociating into indifference? And what does the physical transformation of material, the contact and contamination of substance, mean for all of this?”

Sarah Pucci Music, c. 1980 Pearls, sequins, pins, foam, metal 6 x 22 cm (2 3/8 x 8 5/8 in) Image courtesy of the artist and Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles Photography: Paul Salveson
Sarah Pucci Music, c. 1980 Pearls, sequins, pins, foam, metal 6 x 22 cm (2 3/8 x 8 5/8 in) Image courtesy of the artist and Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles Photography: Paul Salveson

Unlife, Part I: 18th November 2023–3rd February, 2024, curated by Maren Karlson, Soft Opening at Paul Soto Los Angeles, Opening reception Saturday 18 November, 5–8pm

Part II: 6th January–10th February, 2024, curated by Maren Karlson, Soft Opening, 6 Minerva Street, London
Opening reception Friday 5 January, 6–8pm

Maren Karlson (b. 1988, Rostock, Germany) lives and works in Los Angeles, where she is currently completing an MFA in Painting At UCLA. Upcoming solo exhibitions include Soft Opening, London and Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles both scheduled for 2024. Past solo and two-person exhibitions include: Collapse at Soft Opening at CFA, Milan (2023) with Nevine Mahmoud; Lacker at in lieu, Los Angeles (2023) with Sophie Friedman-Pappas; Cypher at Soft Opening, London (2022); Nodulara at Ashley, Berlin (2021); Counsel at Springsteen, Baltimore (2021) with Kira Scerbin; Petal’s Path at in lieu, Los Angeles (2020); Rats dream about the places they want to explore at 427 gallery, Riga (2019); Hear the lizards listening at Mélange Gallery, Cologne (2019) with Claude Eigan and Happy Dark at Interstate Projects, New York (2017). Selected group exhibitions include Support Structures at Gathering, London (2023); Body without Organs at Chapter NY, New York (2023); On Failure at Soft Opening, London (2023); SPECIES at Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich (2023); Durian on the Skin at François Ghebaly, Los Angeles (2022); Drawing in the Continuous Present curated by Rosario Guiraldes, The Drawing Center, New York (2022); Claro del bosque at Intersticio, Madrid (2021); HU at Real Pain, Los Angeles (2020); Perhaps A Window? at stadium, Berlin (2020) and Introducing at in lieu, Los Angeles (2020).

Soft Opening built its early programme with projects that responded to its unique vitrine space in Piccadilly Circus Underground Station, where the gallery was established in 2018. Operating from a permanent space on Minerva Street in East London since 2019, Soft Opening produces an ambitious regular programme and represents eleven artists including Tenant of Culture, Shannon Cartier Lucy, Gina Fischli, Olivia Erlanger, Maren Karlson, Nevine Mahmoud, Rhea Dillon, Ryan Driscoll, Narumi Nekpenekpen, Carlos Reyes and Sin Wai Kin.

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