Equitable Vitrines announces End of Life, an immersive film experience by Paweł Wojtasik and John Bruce.
End of Life is the product of four years spent by Wojtasik and Bruce with five individuals at various stages in the process of dying. The filmmakers trained to be end-of-life doulas in preparation for this project, and they have, at this point, documented hundreds of hours spent with their subjects (two of whom are still living). In lieu of imposing any semblance of narrative upon their subjects, Wojtasik and Bruce strove simply to record “what they did or did not do, what they said or did not say.” There is an openness, even a certain willed ambivalence, to this approach that reflects the unique quality of life in its final phase, when the mundane and the significant seem to flow seamlessly, one into the other. What results defies cultural and cinematic convention in equal measure– a strikingly uninflected vision of a process that remains pathologically hidden within the operations of everyday life.
Viewings of End of Life will take place on the twenty-seventh floor of the Equitable Life Building. Attendees will be met in Equitable’s lobby by an usher, and escorted to a converted office suite. Please note that seating is extremely limited and must be reserved in advance of each screening.
May 26–September 30
Equitable Vitrines presents Equilibre Trunk, a new artwork by Berlin-based artist Klaus Weber. Equilibre Trunk is a manifestation of Weber’s longstanding interest in death masks and consists of several dozen specimens from his personal collection, re-cast and patinated through a secretive process.
When viewed as a whole, Weber’s collection is striking for the affective range displayed by its subjects. While certain countenances—so recently divorced from their animating spirit—convey a manner of resignation, ambivalence or peace, others seem locked in the primordial struggle for consciousness, their masks memorializing a loss. Another form of variation present in the Trunk reveals itself more slowly. The manner in which Weber produced these casts results in an indeterminately aged appearance throughout. After a sustained engagement with the work, identifiable figures begin to emerge from the anonymous mass, coming from a broad span of historical points: we recognize political figures, writers, and even “immortals” of the silver screen, some of whom we’re fairly certain are still breathing. We come to identify a visage or two that may have never lived at all. The result is disorienting: a fondling of life and death; fact and artifice; sincerity and something more complex.
While versions of Weber’s Trunk have been previously shown in institutional contexts, Equitable Vitrines is particularly excited to display this iteration in a more quotidian sphere. If Trunk seems to aim toward a destabilization of perception through the formal unification of wildly disparate elements, then all the better that it occupies a space that is at once highly articulated in regard to aesthetics, yet oddly ambivalent concerning its own use. Weber’s masks will be camouflaged within the lobby’s surroundings, shrouded in aluminum and glass. The thousands of people who circulate through Equitable’s lobby will, consciously and not, reflect the masks—projecting their own particular plight through flesh in time.
The Equitable Life Building is an iconic Los Angeles skyscraper designed by Welton Becket & Associates and built in 1969. Its lobby offers a clean, pristine, and highly visible public space for the presentation of objects and actions.
Prominent artists and thinkers are invited to select or produce things to be displayed in one or both of the lobby’s twenty foot long vitrines for a duration of three months. A concomitant series of performances will serve to establish the large and resonant lobby as a vitrine in itself, visible from the surrounding courtyard through floor to ceiling glass walls.
The goal of Equitable Vitrines is to promote encounters that are relevant to the building’s occupants and visitors; to a diverse constituency of passers by; and to members of the contemporary art community in Los Angeles and beyond—in that order.