L.A. Raeven

Video installation (double projection), 12-min loop

1 the Rules, 2002, 29,7 x 21 cm

Location: ICA London, February 2002

“And yet there is a potential role for viewers in L.A.Raeven’s work (how else could it be art?), as Wild Zone 2 made clear.. The two boys lack the near-complete self-containment exhibited by the artists; they dawdle nervously around their space (that of the ICA itself) reading aloud from a series of rules the artists have supplied them so that the boys can become a perfectly matched pair like themselves. These rules primarily govern the intake of nourishment, that is, how the self assimilates what is other: ‘I WANT to become like HIM. I WANT and I NEED to eat EXACTLY THE SAME as HIM, both in HOW MUCH and WHAT I eat…If he tries to cheat I am angry and I have to PUNISH HIM. We CAN NOTand DO NOT WANT TO CHOOSE which portion of food we have, neither one of us can have CONTROL, so we flip a coin.’ And so on. The point is that the rules that art-that is, L.A.Raeven as it’s living embodiment—follows. The local fulfillment of their project could only be the impossible installation of a new academy in which judgment would once again—-contra Kant—-become subordinate to rules.

At the same time when te supported erasure of boundaries between art and life has given rise to so many casual and perfunctory efforts simply to reproduce the real, L.A. Raeve go to the opposite extreme, insisting that art’s role may be fundamentally paranoid or at least compulsive one of impressing some order on the real, however arbitrary, by not only insisting on one’s difference but posing it as universal.”

Source: Barry Schwabsky, “Focus; L.A. Raeven; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London,” Artforum 40, no. 10 (summer 2002) p. 169

This installation is made possible by the Mondriaan Fonds