artist / participant

press release

Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton presents installations of sculptures and photographs that originate in the opaque field of archeology. Her long time interest in Assyrian culture and how it is experienced both in the institutional framework (the Louvre, the British Museum) and contemporary architectural reality (Los Angeles), results in a third take that leaps over issues of authenticity, symbolic value and history.

The Citadel, an outlet mall in Commerce, a suburb of Los Angeles, housed in what used to be a tire factory modeled on the Palace of King Sargon II, is exemplary of an amnesiac use of emblems and cultural heritage. The lamassu, a protective spirit in ancient Assyria, depicted as a large sculpture of a composite being with the head of a human, the body of either a lion or a bull and wings, has become the corporate trademark of this outlet whose slogan reads: Only in Los Angeles can you drive to an Assyrian palace to buy Blue Jeans and leather goods. Trenka-Dalton lifts the schematized lamassu (pairs of which traditionally flanked the entrances to the throne rooms) to create a wooden sculpture placed atop a miniature model of the structure created in the Louvre to showcase two lamassu from King Sargon’s II palace near Nineveh. The new presentation in the courtyard of the museum, called the Cour de Khorsabad, adds yet another layer in this game of perceptions and misperceptions.

Together with photographs of the Tire Factory/Citadel in its current state, a detail of a lamassu head against the Californian sky, documentation of vintage prints of the building under construction in 1929, ceramic cache-pots for palm trees, a blown up poster of an archaeological site featuring the gigantic ancient sculptures and an Assyrian worker, as well as smaller quotations from the past and the present, the artist traces the “continuous process of rearrangement”.

“Today the monuments of ancient Assyria exist only as reconstructions. The excavated bits and pieces circulate in various forms: they are set up in museums, reproduced on postcards or copied in contemporary architecture and culture. This circulation creates a space that I want to retrace. On the one side it leaves a linear track through history in the form of events and places on the other it produces a cloud of associations, projections, ideas of value and aesthetics. In this, the idea of authenticity becomes obsolete. Monumentality is a reappearing motive in this project. For me the appeal of monumentality lies in the simultaneity of grandeur and failure. Empires crumble and microcosms develop in their ruins. “ _STTD

Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton (*1980, Berlin) studied at the UdK, Berlin where she lives and works. Recent exhibitions include Out Riding Feet, Harris Lieberman, NY curated by Matt Saunders, Berlin Noir, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, NY, curated by Felix Ensslin and The Dreamer Whose Dreams Came True, Institut im Glaspavillon, Berlin. City of Commerce is her first solo exhibition with Nice & Fit.

Sophie-Therese Trenka-Dalton
City of Commerce