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Mark Hagen
To Be Titled (Additive Sculpture, Rampart Tile Wall #1)
Sep 11, 2015 - Dec 31, 2016

LA><ART is pleased to present To Be Titled (Additive Sculpture, Rampart Tile Wall #1), 2012 – 2015, a permanent site-specific installation by Los Angeles based artist Mark Hagen. Hagen’s work consistently employs modularity and the repurposing of objects and their contexts as a means of production, while both these functions also frequently provide the subject matter for his work. Investigating how a system’s components may be separated and recombined, or reconfigured altogether to produce variable outcomes, provides the artist with a methodological framework for many of his projects. For Hagen, these processes of alteration and flux imply temporality, emphasizing the unresolved, open ended, and continuous over the fixed, unalterable, and linear.


Hagen’s research into the Rampart Police station building and the Rampart Scandal—a noted history of misconduct, corruption and violence throughout the decade of the1990s by Rampart division police officers—was the starting point for his project at LA><ART. The artist conducted site visits to the Rampart Police station, which has been abandoned since 2008 when the city built a new Rampart division station at a nearby location. From these site visits, the artist became interested in the decorative mid century modern tile façade of the abandoned building. Hagen discovered that the building had originally been constructed in the early 1960s for the Los Angeles Federal Credit Union, a cooperative association savings and loan founded by city employees. For Hagen, the façade tile seemed caught between the gestures of these two city institutions—between the dichotomy of a cooperative organization intended to support community development, and a government agency scandalized by egregious abuses of power against the community it was meant to serve.


Hagen produced new ceramic tiles from molds taken of the tiled façade of the former Los Angeles Rampart Police station. During production of the new ceramic tiles, while still unfired and wet, the artist released domesticated animals (pigs, sheep, goats, ducks, and chickens) onto the tiles. By walking on the unfired tiles, the animals textured the material surface, leaving prints and tracking color glazes, a reference to Mexican Saltillo tile that is produced in communities by hand and left to dry outdoors, leaving animals to occasionally track across the tile surface. The artistic “arena” for production of the tiles is equally a site where animals scratch, dig and leave impressions, altering the structure of the tiles. After being fired and set, the tiles were then mounted to the walls of the main gallery entryway. For Hagen, the installation presents a mimetic portrait of the art world itself as a domesticating and normalizing arena, where the tracks register as a messy hybridization—an animal artists' markings (both non-human and non-figurative) suggesting emancipation of another kind, a conceptual conceit of a non-species specific Art. The contingencies of the animal’s movements on the tiles and wet glazes, generates a tension between the geometric original and the resulting tile. Additionally, the tracks act as footprints that infer past actions, conveying an archeological endeavor. To Be Titled (Additive Sculpture, Rampart Tile Wall #1), 2012 – 2015 weaves together seemingly disparate interests, including city politics, cultural anthropology and archeology to propose a kind of historical accounting that breaks with expectations of a linear narrative in favor of a history of multiplicities.  


About the Artist

Mark Hagen was born in Black Swamp, Virginia and received his MFA from CalArts in 2002. Recent exhibitions include Lost Line: Contemporary Art from the Collection, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Made in L.A. 2012, at the Hammer Museum; Painting in Place by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division); Handful of Dust, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Barbara; TC: Temporary Contemporary, at the Bass Museum of Art; and California Biennial 2008, Orange County Museum of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include a parliament of some things at Almine Rech Gallery, London (2014); Guest Star at Marlborough Chelsea, New York (2014); and Paleo Diet, at China Art Objects, Los Angeles, CA (2013). Hagen’s artist book 2013? was published in 2012. Public collections include LACMA and the Hammer Museum. He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.


About LA><ART

Founded in 2005, LA><ART is the leading independent contemporary art space supporting artistic and curatorial freedom.  LA><ART is an incubator for the next generation of artists and curators, artist collectives and artist run spaces. The organization is committed to producing newly commissioned works of art, to present experimental exhibitions, public art initiatives, and publications with emerging, mid-career and established local, national and international artists.


LA><ART's programs are produced with generous support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The National Endowment for the Arts; City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs; The Los Angeles County Arts Commission; Nathan Cummings Foundation, with the support and encouragement of Roberta Friedman Cummings, Dashiell Driscoll and Clea Shearer; The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation; California Community Foundation; The Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation; Joel Chen; Ruth and Jacob Bloom; the Evans Family Foundation; Stanley and Gail Hollander; Lisa and Leonardo Schiff; Sima Familant; Michael and Joyce Ostin; Joseph Varet and Esther Kim Varet; Brenda R. Potter; the Maurice Marciano Family Foundation; Ron and Sindi Schwartz; Maja Kristin; Larry Mathews and Brian Saliman; Linda Janger; Phil Lord; Anonymous Donors; Claire and Eric Block, and the Offield Family Foundation.


Mark Hagen’s project was made possible with generous support from the Pohlad Family Foundation. Special thanks to Charlie Pohlad.

Mark Hagen’s project was supported generously by Larry Mathews & Brian Saliman and Linda Janger.