Time As Activity – David Lamelas and Bernd & Hilda Becher

Time as Activity exhibition at

Sprüth Magers is a gallery where you could wear the cookiest outfit and be accepted into the fold of the art world. You’d probably even get a compliment! In a teasing way, what I’m getting at is that Sprüth Magers is a well-established gallery with a nose for what’s hot in the art world.

Specializing in modern and contemporary art, Sprüth Magers is an international gallery with cornerstones in Berlin, London, and Los Angeles.

Sprüth Magers tries to keep intimate rapport with its roster of German and American artists. Sprüth Magers understands well what the 21st century in each society is anxious about, and what Germans and Americans have a fascinated nostalgia for in the 21st century.

Personally, I’ve long had a fascination with spaces inhabited by people, and spaces where people come together either by chance or intention. David Lamelas’ exhibition, Time As Activity, satiates a facet of my fascination with inhabited spaces throughout time.

When I say Lamelas interrogates space throughout time, I mean that Lamelas’ work spans across the ages as a whole, but his work also spans the minutes of daily life in commonspaces.

For example, Lamelas explores Dusseldorf between 11:25am to 11:29am, 3:00pm and 3:40pm, and in another space, Lamelas selects twelve minutes from twenty-four hours of city activity. The intention of Lamelas’ work isn’t geared towards any aesthetic end, but Lamelas’ work simply shows time in the city where actions take place and are conditioned and limited by the city.

What’s most meta about the exhibition is the space that Lamelas creates within the delegated exhibition area.

Lamelas’ exhibition consists of projections of daily life in various cities, ranging from political plazas and TV news broadcasts of today, to black and white film of parking lots of German cities.

All of Lamelas’ projections are done on old film projectors. Most of Hollywood is cringing that I don’t know the type and speed of the film projectors, but my concern isn’t with the equipment, but the atmosphere the lay-gallery-goer would take in. Afterall, I am just a lay-gallery-goer. I’m seriously considering wearing a crazy outfit next time I go though. Anyways, I digress.

My very expensive and highly professional iPhone 5s photography equipment couldn’t capture the video projections David Lamelas cast on the gallery walls. However, in the photo below, you can see that one of the projections is, and it was one of my favorite. The mural-sized painting by Pablo Picasso, Guernica, was projected onto a slightly smaller scale than the actual painting. At the exhibition opening, you could watch people watching people watching art. The brilliance of Lamelas is that he not only captures the macro of time and space in cities, but Lamelas also emphasizes the microcosms which have sprung from city society, and in fact recirculate and promote cultural-specific inhabited spaces.

The downstairs exhibition which runs parallel to Time As Activity is Bernd and Hilda Becher’s exhibition.

I would say that Bernd and Hilda Becher’s work compliments, or segways into Time As Activity, but both exhibitions truly stand strong as individual exhibitions with an obvious theme of time and space.

Bernd and Hilda Becher’s exhibition consists of a series of architectural photographs with architecture as the subject.

Featuring water towers, grain elevators, coal tipples and factory facades from both the U.S. and Germany, the Bechers’ exhibition walks the audience through abandoned sites of industry. Cleverly, the water towers speak to an age gone by in Los Angeles, yet Angelenos are very familiar with the modern studio water towers which are hallmarks of an industry still booming.

The Bechers argue that photography provide a precision in representation that other mediums wouldn’t.

I argue that photography is the only medium which captures the fascination and nostalgia with which the 21st-century industrialized nation-state societies have with industrialization. Industrialized, European societies capture the past in old-timey prints, and frequently put these photographs in spaces where they can be viewed by contemporary society (museums). This is where the poetry of Bernd and Hilda Becher’s exhibition gets going, in a highly meta-format.

Bernd and Hilda Becher’s exhibition is both an intellectual and personally indulgent exhibition.

While Sprüth Magers is an established gallery with refined taste, the beauty of the exhibitions are in their accessibility on all levels: from the art plebeians to the art bourgeoisie.

Time As Activity – David Lamelas and Bernd & Hilda Becher

5900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
[Right across from the LACMA! No, not the LA Fitness..next to LA Fitness.]

10am – 6pm Tu-Sat ; Closed Sunday and Monday

Bernd and Hilda Becher ∙ David Lamelas

September 07 – October 21, 2017