In My Condition
May 12 - July 29, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday, May 12, 6 - 9 pm
3315 West Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018
“It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure colonial mansions for the summer. Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it. Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted?
John is a physician, and perhaps - perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster. You see he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do? So I take phosphates or phosphites - whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and I am to have perfect rest and all the air I can get.
The place has been empty for years. There is something strange about the house — I can feel it. I even said so to John one moonlit evening, but he said what I felt was a draught, and shut the window.”
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Stetson, 1892
Martos Gallery is pleased to Present In My Condition, a solo exhibition by Natalie Labriola which is centered around a modified, used, ISO 8-Level cleanroom, titled “Cleanroom for Psychic Protection”. A cleanroom is a sealed environment with a highly filtered airflow system which processes out airborne contaminants such as dust, microbes, and chemical vapors. Cleanrooms vary in classification according to the number of particles per cubic meter that are filtered from the air. An ISO-Level 8 cleanroom is capable of filtering roughly 3.5 million out of 35 million particles per cubic square inch of typical room air. The cleanroom floor is comprised of interlocking anti-microbial foam mats whose diagrammatic graphics, which are taken from medical detoxification posters, have been carved and cast with wax, juniper berries and crystal rocks. Sculptures made of cleanroom hardware, wax, silicone, and plants with medicinal properties flank the walls.
In Plato’s dialogues, the word “pharmakon” appears many times, and its meaning shifts depending on its context between being a remedy, poison, drug, recipe, charm, medicine, substance, spell, artificial color, and paint. Similarly, the word germ is defined as both a micro-organism that causes disease, and also something that initiates development. The slippery nature of the language we use to describe the foundational elements of medicine point to its unstable nature, and it’s this state of flux that serves as an origin for this show.
If Hard Science states that we have more micro-organisms in our guts than we have cells in our bodies, then we are all inherently contaminated. We are crawling with bacteria and are full of chemicals. We are, in other words, continuous with everything here on earth and in the Universe, including each other.
Natalie Labriola (b. 1987, Mesa, Arizona) received an MFA from Bard’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts in 2015. Labriola has recently exhibited at Bureau, New York; Cleopatra’s, New York; Nicelle Beauchene, New York; Michael Thibault, Los Angeles; LACA, Los Angeles, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, and Boyfriends, Chicago. In 2014 she collaborated with Kate Berlant on a video commissioned by MocaTV for their Art+Comedy series. From 2012 to 2015 she ran a temporary exhibition space called Satellite Space out of a commercial office building in Los Angeles.