MisRemembered Structures, 2015
“MisRemembered Structures” is a series of drawings and paintings that conflate the bathhouse and the mausoleum into one abstract structure. Continuing my investigation into the history of gay bathhouses in Los Angeles prior to the AIDS crisis, this body of work focuses on the absence of artifacts, documents, and ultimately bodies, from this historical period. In an attempt to fill this absence, a strategy of “creative misremembering” is utilized to create substitute “documents” of these spaces. If memory is central in the constructing of history, the act of misremembering must also be contended with. This rupture in the logic of the archive is exploited in these drawings and paintings and the line between recognition and misrecognition is exalted.
The marks in these drawings are made by utilizing a proto-photographic technique of spraying paint on a surface that has been covered with objects and then removing the object to reveal its trace. The object utilized in “MisRemembered Structures” is human hair. The process of mark making is one of removal---it is the absence of the human body that marks its presence. Laid on a black background and sprayed with white enamel, the human hair leaves marks on the bath house “tiles” that resemble marble which shifts the location of the structures from the bathhouse into the mausoleum. Itself a sort of archive, the mausoleum becomes a powerful site from which the struggle to resist historical erasure unfolds.