Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to announce our first solo exhibition with Dan Levenson: “SKZ Painting Storage.” Levenson has created a fictional and immersive narrative about a community of Swiss artists at the now-defunct State Art Academy, Zrich (SKZ). In Gallery 3, a set of paintings represents the results of a single composition exercise assigned to one class of students. The paintings appear to have suffered from time and neglect; their surfaces are cracked and discolored. In Gallery 4 an installation of storage racks, student lockers, paint-splattered studio floors and modular art school furniture collapses the imagined space of the art school with the real space of the gallery. The sculptural furniture serves a practical function in Levenson’s studio so that the accretions of his process create the impression of many years of use.
Traces of the lost culture of the art school abound, particularly in Levenson’s use of standardized international paper sizes, which dictate the scale and composition of every painting and object he produces. Each painting fits inside a storage box recovered from the ruins of the art school. The boxes fit together with classroom furniture: a desk, flat files, work tables, and drawing horses.
Levenson’s project balances humor, critique, and a fascination with the philosophy of twentieth century institutions such as the Bauhaus. At the center of the project are paintings that represent the foundation exercises completed by the forgotten art students of the academy. Each painting is signed on the back by an otherwise anonymous Swiss art student. The names never repeat and nothing else is known about the students’ individual biographies. These assignments are remnants of a generic modernist past when art education prioritized formal and technical concerns over subjective expression. The resulting work contrasts the rigor of the ideas that underlie its construction with the reality of organic deterioration.
Dan Levenson received an MFA from the Royal College of Art, London in 1997. His work has been exhibited at White Columns, New York, NY; LAXART, Los Angeles, CA; Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA; PARTICIPANT INC, New York, NY; EFA Gallery, New York, NY; Peloton, Sydney, Australia; and OfficeOps, Brooklyn, NY.