by Andrew Berardini

November 1, 2017

Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth”

HANNAH HOFFMAN GALLERYLos Angeles

September 17–November 22, 2017

The medieval wardrobe of a sadomasochist, the secret torture chamber gear of a conflicted superhero, grim relics of gods from the deepest abysses of a broken dimension, or, as they truly are, artworks, sparsely hung, dangling from ropes, splayed like bodies, and rippled into curtains of parachute silk, with one emanating scent (as has become a regular ritual in Elaine Cameron-Weir’s exhibitions). Here it’s the ancient aroma of freshly warmed labdanum cooking in a laboratory heating element.

Nearby, cast pewter breasts and belly dangle from the fine mesh of a long-sleeved chainmail hauberk, shouldered with leather harnesses, a long, thin metal tube spreading the arms in prayer or supplication, all hanging in the air with industrial pulleys anchoring it to the hard cement floor with a cinched sandbag. The scenography of the last bit makes it feel like a prop in some lost play by H. P. Lovecraft costumed and propped by H. R. Giger. A sinister future or distant present, the clandestine fetishes hidden in the dungeon of our collective psyche. A fucking awesome costume to a really sick goth party.

The artist lends her voice to the curious titles of these works—the hauberk’s named dressing for altitude (2017)—but even more so to a statement that accompanies the show and reads like a garbled transmission of a technocratic dictator’s last love poem delivered from a bunker at the end of the world: “Everything has a predilection for want to exist by strict structural rules consisting of temporary gridbondages loosely tethered to memory jacketing. When there is a displacement on the soft boundary of, then these bonds is broken a wave of oscillations begins to move along the question which rips free.” The jangle of word and emotion, neologisms and redactions, sensuality and mystery mirrors the unusual assembly of objects and sensation in the artist’s sculptures. Something both erotic and scientific. A rubber jacket, titled FOR MAKE ADMIT THIS VOIDE (2017), includes in its list of materials “orthopedic jaw fixation hardware” and amber. The work emanating labdanum with its heating element, standing on a metal pole, includes a high-altitude flight mask and, rippling above it like a flag, a black mask, shaped so that it looks so much more fluid than its stiff material actually allows. Its lengthy title, cut in part from the artist’s statement, reads like its own darkling poem: Who are what looks out from behind you are is the thing that names what transforms…now, look what calms the captive by letting him sniff the perfume, like smell what smells like your masters crotch (2017). The coded words have a texture, a Baudelairean lexicon. The last phrase, “your masters crotch,” feels like a dom’s command just as they cinch the last knot of your bondage.

Hanging from a steel chain and leather straps, the bottoms of two boots cast in pewter bear the imprint of an absent foot impressed into the metal, in wave form walks the earth (2017). The sheen of the metal, the dangle of the straps, the ghosted body becomes a wave form, the earth more than just terra firma, but an atmosphere, walking it like a sound carried in the air. The sculpture embodies a cryptic poem like a science experiment in aesthetics.

Andrew Berardini writes about art and other sensual subjects from Los Angeles. He was recently the writer-in-residence at the Institute for Art and Olfaction and judge for their Sadakichi Award for Experimental Scent.

View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

1View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

2View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

Elaine Cameron-Weir, dressing for altitude, 2017.

3Elaine Cameron-Weir, dressing for altitude, 2017.

Elaine Cameron-Weir, dressing for altitude (detail), 2017.

4Elaine Cameron-Weir, dressing for altitude (detail), 2017.

View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

5View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

Elaine Cameron-Weir, FOR MAKE ADMIT THIS VOIDE (detail), 2017.

6Elaine Cameron-Weir, FOR MAKE ADMIT THIS VOIDE (detail), 2017.

Elaine Cameron-Weir, Who are what looks out from behind you are is the thing that names what transforms...now, look what calms the captive by letting him sniff the perfume, like smell what smells like your masters crotch, 2017.

7Elaine Cameron-Weir, Who are what looks out from behind you are is the thing that names what transforms...now, look what calms the captive by letting him sniff the perfume, like smell what smells like your masters crotch, 2017.

Elaine Cameron-Weir, Who are what looks out from behind you are is the thing that names what transforms...now, look what calms the captive by letting him sniff the perfume, like smell what smells like your masters crotch (detail), 2017.

8Elaine Cameron-Weir, Who are what looks out from behind you are is the thing that names what transforms...now, look what calms the captive by letting him sniff the perfume, like smell what smells like your masters crotch (detail), 2017.

View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

9View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

Elaine Cameron-Weir, wave form walks the earth (detail), 2017.

10Elaine Cameron-Weir, wave form walks the earth (detail), 2017.

View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

11View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.

  • 1View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles. All images courtesy of the artist and Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles. All photos by Veli-Matti Hoikka. 
  • 2View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.
  • 3Elaine Cameron-Weir, dressing for altitude, 2017. Pewter, stainless steel, leather, and sandbags, 113 x 20.3 x 153.7 cm, height variable.

  • 4Elaine Cameron-Weir, dressing for altitude (detail), 2017. Pewter, stainless steel, leather, and sandbags, 113 x 20.3 x 153.7 cm, height variable.

  • 5View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.
  • 6Elaine Cameron-Weir, FOR MAKE ADMIT THIS VOIDE (detail), 2017. Rubber jacket, leather, orthopedic jaw fixation hardware, stainless steel, and amber, 40.6 x 15.2 x 144.8 cm.
  • 7Elaine Cameron-Weir, Who are what looks out from behind you are is the thing that names what transforms...now, look what calms the captive by letting him sniff the perfume, like smell what smells like your masters crotch, 2017. Leather, laboratory heating mantle, cast glass, labdanum resin, high altitude flight mask, transformer, and stainless steel, 45.7 x 45.7 x 188 cm.
  • 8Elaine Cameron-Weir, Who are what looks out from behind you are is the thing that names what transforms...now, look what calms the captive by letting him sniff the perfume, like smell what smells like your masters crotch (detail), 2017. Leather, laboratory heating mantle, cast glass, labdanum resin, high altitude flight mask, transformer, and stainless steel, 45.7 x 45.7 x 188 cm.
  • 9View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.
  • 10Elaine Cameron-Weir, wave form walks the earth (detail), 2017. Pewter, stainless steel, leather, and sandbag, 30.5 x 30.5 x 170.2 cm, height variable.

  • 11View of Elaine Cameron-Weir’s “wave form walks the earth,” Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles.
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