press release

venue: 17–19 Davies Street, London W1K 3DE

Gagosian is pleased to present new collaborative paintings by Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis, the second exhibition by the visual artist and writer. The exhibition comprises six works, shown in pairs and switched at regular intervals.

The collaborative paintings, the first of which were shown at Gagosian Beverly Hills last year, superimpose suggestive text written by Ellis and set in Los Angelean fonts over stock-photographic images selected and purchased online by Israel: sunsets, surf, aerial views of Los Angeles, and close-up details highlighting local architectural vernacular. These painted and printed works were fabricated at Warner Bros. by the production crews formerly responsible for hand-painting Hollywood film backdrops and Israel’s previous works.

Each of Ellis's captions suggests a larger narrative or overarching story, of which the viewer is given only a glimpse: “This isn’t a real relationship,” she told him, shrugging. “It’s showbiz.” The hyperfilmic qualities of these monumental paintings are enhanced by their scale, akin to cinema screens. With their floating captions and outsized dimensions, the paintings resemble the credits of a feature film, or the billboards of the Sunset Strip. Taken together, they evoke a slideshow of the city's subconscious: a surreal film pitch. In this sequel to the original collaboration, Los Angeles is once again both background and subject.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated publication, with an essay by Michael Tolkin and a conversation with the artists by Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Hans Ulrich Obrist will lead a conversation with Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Albemarle Street, London on Friday, February 3rd, 2017 at 2pm. Catalogue signing to follow.

Alex Israel was born in Los Angeles in 1982. Public collections include Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; MOCA, Los Angeles; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Solo exhibitions include “Alex Israel,” Le Consortium, Dijon (2013); “Sightings: Alex Israel,” Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2015–16); “Alex Israel at The Huntington,” The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Garden, San Marino, CA (2015); “#AlexIsrael,” Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (2016); and “Using Walls, Floors and Ceilings” at The Jewish Museum, New York (2016–17). Israel’s first feature-length film, SPF-18, is due out later this year.

Bret Easton Ellis was born in Los Angeles in 1964. He published his first novel, Less Than Zero, in 1985, and shortly after it was adapted for the silver screen. His most well-known books are The Rules of Attraction (1987), American Psycho (1991), and The Informers (1995)—all of which were made into films in the 2000s. His novels and short stories have been translated extensively and can be found in French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Romanian, Polish, Portuguese, German, Turkish, and Bulgarian. Ellis has written, directed, produced, and acted in various feature-length and short films since the late 1990s. He hosts The Bret Easton Ellis Podcast online once a week, interviewing figures from across cultural disciplines, and writes for publications including Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, GRANTA, and The New York Times, among others.

Israel and Ellis live and work in Los Angeles, California.