LocationX Museum, Beijing
DateApril 17 - July 17, 2022
Widely known for his ironic, often tragic approach to everyday events, Trey Abdella brings into surface personal yet relatable conception of Americana. Abdella’s works, playing with iconographic elements of American holidays, habits and trivialities, shine a light on the dark side of his own homeland culture. Mixing his personal remembrances with commonplace experiences of every American Millennial, the artist produces an overwhelming X-ray of the country, and focuses his attention in underlining the anxiety that is embedded in its culture. Each work reflects breathtaking moments, woven with joy, excitement, embarrassment, disgust or fear— that everyone may resonate with. Abdella captures drama from monotony and ventures beyond the canvas into experimental territory, unveils and translates the innermost feelings from humans. Pairing paintings with found objects, the artist ventures beyond the canvas into experimental territory, challenging and expanding upon traditional painting textures. A shattered Live Laugh Love photo frame unveils deranged family affairs; a bunny paw welcomes a young punk kid obliged to go to church on Sundays. The blending of real objects with figurative representation reinterprets pop culture through the lens of horror and melancholy. Abdella’s works build a disruptive presence and present psychologically charged narratives by oscillating between reality and illusion. Viewers of his work become voyeurs, experiencing the thrill of peeking into the intimate lives of others. These stolen looks, hiding between pleated blinds of the museum’s corrugated walls, provoke both anxiety and secret exhilaration, as well as curiosity. Homely objects, embedded in Abdella’s unexpected contexts, allude to Freud’s uncanny. Uncomfortable sensation and ambiguity anxiety erupts, bringing bodies from earth to heaven. The suffocating silence and uncertainty awaken interest in those hidden truths, accompanied by the spikes of fear and repulsion, to create an experience that plays hide-and-seek with emotional regulation. Through his experience from West Virginia to New York City, Abdella examines and illustrates the footsteps of growth with slapstick humour and murmuring tenderness. As the byproduct of an environment that praises exuberance, in his artworks, Abdella overemphasises his traumas as well as his treats, and invites the viewer to experience the trivial aspects of life with the same intensity as he does, following the suggestion of the words by Rainer Maria Rilke: ‘Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.'