Yancey Richardson is pleased to present Rachel Perry’s Soundtrack to My Life, the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. Comprised of a series of large-scale collages based on the lyrics of popular songs, Soundtrack To My Life continues Perry’s interest in observing, collecting and utilizing the pedestrian materials and experiences of daily life to comment on the permeation of daily existence by consumer culture.
Throughout her career Welty has used familiar materials such as register receipts, produce stickers, shopping bags and voicemail messages to comment on what she calls “the business of living.” Since the 1930s music has been curated and sold to business owners to help speed up factory workers, motivate shoppers and relax elevator riders. For Soundtrack to My Life Perry gathered the lyrics of popular songs overheard as background music while moving through the mundane routine of her day, visiting the grocery store, the bank, the drugstore or the doctor’s office. The songs in the exhibition include hits by major artists from various eras and genres such as Elton John, The Cure, Bruce Springsteen, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra. The collages are fabricated by cutting individual letters from ads in junk mail and print magazines delivered to Perry’s home including Sports Illustrated, Artforum, The New Yorker, and The Economist, among others. The new configuration of decontextualized type of varying sizes, shapes, colors and fonts appears as a kind of oversized ransom note suggesting the hostage-taking of consumers by marketing forces using visual and aural means. As Perry notes, “Intended to relax us into a frenzy of spending or simply blunt us from experiencing true awareness, this aural gauze saturates the space with predictable sound, and homogenizes our lives. Sound, in this way, exerts control. Pop music becomes political.“
In the project gallery, Perry presents new examples of her ongoing project Lost in My Life, a series of photographs of the artist subsumed in the discarded minutia of consumer culture. Part performance, part installation, Perry immerses herself in environments built from familiar, leftover consumer materials: price tags, produce stickers, markers and gift boxes. Perry appears in every image, though she never reveals her face, emphasizing the dichotomy between personal identity and the anonymity of daily existence. In the artist’s words, “These leftovers form the language of modern life.”
Born in Japan in 1962, Rachel Perry lives and works in Boston and New York. Her solo museum exhibition, 24/7, opened at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in 2011 and traveled to the Zimmerli Museum, New Brunswick, NJ, through July 2012. In 2016 she received a large-scale outdoor commission by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Perry’s work has also been exhibited at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, The Drawing Center, New York, the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the Krannert Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Kunstmuseum Bonn.
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