PREVIEW: VPAM exhibition to encourage self-care


Falling—Visitor immerses in “Frefall,” a collapsed balcony, large-scale sculpture by York Chang. It proposes a state of perpetual falling, referenced to the loss of a person’s bearing in a collective social horizon line.

By Samantha Iniguez

The Vincent Price Art Museum collaborated with artist Edgar Fabian Frías and York Chang to open two new exhibits.

On Saturday, Frias’s “Perpetual Flower” and Chang’s “The Signal and the Noise” became open to the public.

In his first solo museum exhibition, Frías uses video testimonials, digital imagery, flower essences and interactive elements to encourage alternate states of awareness.

He said his goal for the exhibition was to send a message of self-care and encourage understating between one another.

Frías sent this message through therapy, healing practices and ceremony. Including knowledge of his indigenous heritage, Frías drew inspiration from Wixarika culture.

He used the colors associated with the sacred directions including music videos of his personal vision entwined with reinterpreted cultural dances.

“What is something you wish you would’ve heard growing up?” is the title of a video included in the exhibition. The video shows people talking about messages they wish adults would have shared with them when they were younger, encouraging them to embrace who they are instead of forcing themselves to fit the gender norms.

With participants from both Los Angeles and Tulsa, the artist’s new home, Frias created ties between his past home and his new one.

This gave visitors the opportunity to relate to the people sharing their experiences on the screen, as well as the methods they used to heal from past traumas.

Frías worked with artist and herbalist Saewon Oh to create the flower essence charged with natural elements native to East Los Angeles: Chickweed, Rue, Datura and some quartz crystal in a base of spring water and brandy.

The exhibition has a bottle of the essence on display along with a pamphlet to guide visitors through the experience. Frias said that although it is safe to consume the flower essence, it’s not necessary in order to feel its effects. People can simply rub it on their clothing or their arm.

Alicia Mora, a visitor of the exhibition, said the smell of the flower essence was calming. She said that it all comes together when paired with the colorful videos displayed on the walls, offering an amazing experience.

In York Chang’s “The Signal and the Noise,” he uses mixed media strategies, newspapers, graphic displays, found images and sculpture to start the discussion on how information is disseminated and consumed in today’s fast media.

Chang includes a piece called “Fractographic Fields” where he said he grappled with finding himself in a new age of propaganda, where war pictures can be found on the same media feed as celebrity gossip desensitizing the public.

Director of VPAM, Pilar Tompkins Rivas said Chang’s message is a very important one in a day where real world issues are being overshadowed and diluted by petty celebrity gossip.

A piece titled “Shortwave” displays a shortwave radio that is broadcasting two different transmissions in an endless loop. On one wavelength, there is a preacher giving a sermon on the socio-religious nature of truth. On the other one, two men argue about the nature of existence.

The message of both transmissions gets lost in between the static and overlapping of the two.

Another piece called “Freefall” is a large collapsed balcony. Chang said his message with this piece is about the loss of a universal cultural horizon.

Society consumes everything too fast without filtering out the important information, resulting in a loss of information.

Rivas said she is proud to have to work with both Frías and Chang and is honored to be able to house their powerful messages at VPAM.

The exhibits will be on display until July 20.

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