Altered Images

Elad Lassry at Massimo De Carlo

On first glance, Israeli-born, LA-based artist Elad Lassry’s quizzical photo collages are almost twee in their picture-perfect decorativeness. Incorporating archive material, stock footage, Hollywood publicity shots and magazine covers, the puckish pieces are instantly recognizable by their frames, painted with bright colors that match details or backgrounds from the central image. A closer inspection proves more provocative: Lassry has a penchant—and uncanny knack—for manipulating his raw materials (gathered from bookshops and second-hand stores on Hollywood Boulevard) in a way that is confounding, achieving what he calls a “negation” of conventional film and photography with his inexplicable juxtapositions and interventions. So a picture of a woman drawing shades is mounted on a meticulously color-matched blue board, but her face is cut out of the picture. Or what appears to be a photograph of Goldie Hawn is actually a photograph of a sculpture Lassry made incorporating that image. This destabilizing effect is equally present in Lassry's imperturbable films, often shot with the camera facing straight towards its subject and lit evenly to avoid any overt theatricality. In a gallery context, the films (which are only ever projected and have never been digitized) inhabit the same space as the photographs, carefully installed to highlight what the artists sees as the uneasy definitions of each medium. Lassry’s latest show, a joint exhibition with fellow collage artst Josh Smith, opens at Massimo de Carlo, Milan on May 19, and features Passacaglia—a new film work based featuring New York City ballet dancers juxtaposed with a painting by Orphist artist Robert Delauney.
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