Curated by Jay Ezra Nayssan as part of the Frieze Los Angeles, Frieze Projects: the exhibition Against the Edge brings the work of contemporary artists into dialogue with cultural sites across the Westside, unearthing narratives of liberation and creativity as well as exile and occlusion. Against this backdrop and our historic landmark works by Kelly Akashi will be exclusively displayed at Villa Aurora.
Like the philosopher, the author views his task as one of establishing a clear connection between life and history, and of making the past bear fruit for the present and future.
Lion Feuchtwanger, Vom Sinn des historischen Romans, 1935
Against the Edge brings together three recent sculptures by the Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist Kelly Akashi in the historic setting of Villa Aurora. Located in the garden, salon, and courtyard of the storied residence, the trio of works speaks to many of Akashi’s sculptural and conceptual concerns—how materials encode presence and absence, flowers as a marker of ephemerality, and cycles of life, death, and rebirth. The installation also evokes an historical parallelism between Akashi’s family story and the journey of Lion and Marta Feuchtwanger, Villa Aurora’s earlier owners.
Akashi’s family story resonates in history with the story of Lion and Marta Feuchtwanger, the former owners of Villa Aurora. Shortly after Akashi’s paternal family was forced into the American concentration camp at Poston in the early 1940s, Villa Aurora was purchased by German-Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta after they escaped the Camp des Milles concentration camp in southern France. Villa Aurora would become a refuge for artists and intellectuals fleeing the genocide in Europe. Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht, Arnold Schönberg, and others gathered at Villa Aurora as it became a site for intellectual reorganization in the wake of modernity’s greatest rupture.
In late 2022, Lion Feuchtwanger’s 1933 novel, The Oppermanns, was rereleased by Simon & Schuster. In the novel, Feuchtwanger foreshadows the Holocaust years before it begins, writing contemporaneously with the rise of Naziism and the demise of the Weimar Republic. The story follows a Jewish bourgeois family in Berlin as it confronts the rise of Hitler and antisemitism and their eventual internment in a concentration camp. Despite selling over a quarter of a million copies worldwide in 1933, the U.S. remained on the sidelines for almost a decade before intervening in Europe while simultaneously adopting the use of concentration camps for its Japanese-American citizens.
Exhibiting the work of Kelly Akashi, whose practice has engaged deeply with the site of the Poston Internment Camp, at Villa Aurora folds history in on itself. Histories that mirror from opposite sides of an ocean can inform each other and present the all-too-human weakness, horror, and resilience birthed out of hatred, insecurity, and prejudice.
To read the complete Against the Edge text and learn about other sites and artists included in Frieze Projects curated by Jay Ezra Nayssan and Del Vaz Projects, click here.
Material tactility, its possibilities, limitations, and transformation form the core of Kelly Akashi's practice. Originally trained in analog photography, traditional processes and the materiality of documents continue to inform and fuel her sculptural explorations. Working in a variety of media, such as wax, bronze, fire, glass, silicone, copper, and rope, Akashi investigates the capacity and boundaries of these elements and their ability to construct and challenge conventional concepts of form.
In her sculptural practice, Akashi utilizes indexical materials to emphasize the impressionability and physicality of objects. Often pairing delicate hand-blown glass or hand-made wax candles with bronze casts of her own hands, the artist captures momentary gestures, casting them into perpetual existence. Her interest in the mapping of time has led her to study fossils from extinct species in order to locate humankind amongst other consciousness that have thrived along the earth’s geological timeline. Drawing attention to the fluidity and interconnectedness of the media she uses, Akashi aims to capture the tension and physicality of objects in her practice.
Visits by appointment only, information on how to RSVP will follow shortly.
EMO, a solo exhibition by Anne Imhof, the largest presentation of the artist’s work in the United States to date and her first in Los Angeles.
Sprüth Magers Gallery 5900 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
An interdisciplinary exhibition that expresses passion by modifying societal solutions; crafting bikes, roller skates, skateboards & alternate rides into mobile movements of their own.
Goethe-Institut LA Project Space 1901 W. 7th St. Suite AB Los Angeles