Lewis Klahr: Porcelain Gods

27 Apr 2024 – 1 Jun 2024

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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Lewis Klahr’s exhibition “Porcelain Gods” opens on Saturday, April 27th in Track 16 first floor space with a reception from 6-9pm. The artist’s collage novel adapts Jean Luc Godard’s film Contempt.


Track 16 presents Los Angeles-based artist Lewis Klahr in a solo exhibition, Porcelain Gods. The show runs on the 1st-floor exhibition space through April 27 – June 1, 2024 and is open Wednesday – Saturday, 12pm – 6pm and by appointment.

“In his collage novel Porcelain Gods, Lewis Klahr distills Contempt’s many layers of history and emotion, drawing on high and low references (emulating Godard, naturally) to echo the film’s lush melodrama, rich color and bold spatial design. Klahr’s widescreen tableaux conjure a sense of consequence and fate out of the primary tale of marital disillusion and ruin, reassigning the film’s main roles to hyper-expressive characters from vintage DC comics. In Klahr’s version, these beings roam and reel amidst ancient statues {broken-faced or headless), while solitary objects — a black couch, a brown book, a coffee cup — loom like things seen in dreams. In a brilliant casting coup, Clark Kent, a handsome yet furtive man in a hat, embodies Michel Piccoli’s aloof and ultimately inadequate screenwriter, and a grotesquely confident creature with a ripped torso, scaly skin and feathery wings takes on the persona of Jack Palance’s monstrous producer. Within all this, a blonde Bardot stand-in with tearful blue eyes seems stricken by the suspicion that no dialogue balloon on earth can contain all the dark thoughts she’s feeling, her anguish, her sorrow, her sudden, fatal detachment.”  –  Michael Almereyda

Godard’s Contempt (and the novel it was based on) is a story about creating a film version of The Odyssey. It inspired Klahr’s use of Greco-roman backgrounds to host comic book characters. The artist created Porcelain Gods in the spirit of Max Ernst’s collage novels of the early 1930’s, and likewise found it fitting to create a “pop” like collage of a Godard film, since collage and pop were so central to Godard’s filmmaking in the 1960’s. 

The artist himself is a collage filmmaker, and Porcelain Gods is aligned with Klahr’s body of film work, which dates back to the 1970’s. His recent film: 5 Days Till Tomorrow (2022), is also part of the exhibition. The film – characteristic of the artist’s work – uses fantasy comic book characters to inhabit 1970’s futuristic architectural photographs. These cutouts and backgrounds circle around a pop, mid-century, dreamlike imagery.

Lewis Klahr has been making films since 1977 working successively in Super 8, then 16mm, and now digital. He is known for his uniquely idiosyncratic collage films, which use found images and sound to explore the intersection of memory and history. Klahr's films have screened extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia – in venues such as New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Biennial (3 times), the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, The Tate Modern, the Pompidou Center, Redcat, MOCA and the LA County Museum of Art. 

Lewis Klahr lives in Los Angeles and teaches full time in the Theater School of the California Institute of the Arts. 

Michael Almereyda is a filmmaker living in New York. Most recently he is the editor (with Susan Kismaric) of “Winogrand: Color,” published by Twin Palms Press.

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