Baik Art presents EYE-DEE-QUE (Something Like an Asclepeion), a solo installation and series of events by Los Angeles artist Matt Wardell.
For the exhibition, Wardell will present an immersive environment of images and objects by channeling ‘something like’ an ancient Greek temple of healing. Using Baik Art’s unique architecture, viewers experience a literal (and perhaps figurative) katabasis (‘to go down’ as in a descent of some type), but more importantly, and ideally, a catharsis (‘cleansing’ or ‘purification’).
Numerous objects, found and constructed, engage with the verticality of Baik Art’s shaft-like space, surrounded by an installation of wall works including drawings, collages, and repurposed images. Several fabric sculptures fill the gallery functioning as apotropaic totems. These Guardian Figures suggest a ‘presence’, ideally something beyond the object.
Daytime and evening events will further activate the gallery a space for healing. Practitioners from a variety of fields will be on hand for consultation. Music for Healing or What You Need will present a sonic cleansing. Incubation and Dream Analysis will be an overnight event of guided sleep followed by dream analysis with a professional. Utilizing the healing properties of dog saliva, An Event for Wound Licking will be a participatory event pairing wounds with dogs. For the date and time of each event, please contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In ancient Greece and Rome, an asclepeion was a healing temple, sacred to Asclepius, the Greek God of Medicine. These temples were places in which patients would visit to receive either treatment or some sort of healing, whether it was spiritual or physical. Epidaurus was the first place to worship Asclepius as a god, beginning sometime in the 5th century BCE.
Starting around 350 BCE, the cult of Asclepius became increasingly popular. Pilgrims flocked to asclepieia to be healed. They slept overnight (“incubation”) and reported their dreams to a priest the following day. He prescribed a cure, often a visit to the baths or a gymnasium. Since snakes were sacred to Asclepius, they were often used in healing rituals. Non-venomous snakes were left to crawl on the floor in dormitories where the sick and injured slept.
Matt Wardell seeks to prolong a sense of wonder while placing the viewer in a lingering position of active assessment. He is interested in how we choose to live and in introducing work that facilitates these investigations. Wardell enjoys walking on fences, answering wrong numbers, and giving directions to places he does not know. Uncomfortable laughter, confusion, and irritation tend to be the byproducts of Wardell’s works.
Wardell has exhibited his work at venues throughout the United States and Mexico, including the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco (SFMOMA), Claremont Museum of Art in Claremont, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), REDCAT, PØST, Human Resources, Black Dragon Society, Mark Moore Gallery, and Commonwealth and Council, all in Los Angeles. Wardell is a founding member of the artist collective 10lb Ape.