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I'm So Wild About Your Strawberry Mouth

Artist Aïda Ruilova talks about themes of desire, exploitation and escape in her first West Coast show

by CH Contributor in Culture on 04 April 2013

by Vivianne Lapointe

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"I'm So Wild About Your Strawberry Mouth," a multidisciplinary exhibition by West Virginia-born, New York-based artist Aïda Ruilova, presents a new series of works on paper created out of 25 Emmanuelle movie posters collected over time, bought by the artist from posters shops and on eBay. The show marks the West Coast debut for the prolific artist, whose work has shown in the Venice and Whitney Biennials. "I purposely started focusing on collecting posters that had more photographic elements in them," she says. "The black pools I painted were a way to cut up the image, add another narrative that felt like a void. Desire lies in what you can't see in the images."

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The works explore Ruilova's leitmotifs of desire, self caricature, intoxication and escape. Just like rock and roll from the 1970s, there is something inherently iconic about erotic movies from that decade—they serve as testimony to the freedom and innocence of a whole different era in time, although Ruilova claims her fascination with the fantasy world of the soft porn movie legend is not literal. "I was more interested in the advertisements' exploitation of the figure and its relationship to propagating the identity of the franchise film," she explains.

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The gallery also unveiled the artist's newest film, her 45-minute documentary portrait of filmmaker Abel Ferrera. The cinematic interview starts with a simple question: "Please speak about Pier Paolo Pasolini's death, and how you would direct your own death scene in relation to his?” From there, the film juxtaposes and dramatizes the lives of two modern poets in delineating the complex answer in Ruilova's first piece over 10 minutes.

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In the process of making this show, Ruilova started experimenting with sculpture work when she became inspired by the mundane nature of the bed as an object, transforming the welcoming symbol into a spiked platform. "A bed implies a space for mediation, rest or in the same vein, sex," she says. "Yet activated by the diamonds it becomes a transitionary object that forces the viewer to recoil from this welcoming space." Her sculpture is lethal and makes the exhibition come full circle.

"I’m So Wild About Your Strawberry Mouth" runs through 4 May 2013 at the Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery in Santa Monica, CA.

Images courtesy of the artist and Kayne Griffin Corcoran.

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