[July 17 2017]
This past weekend, within a pair of warehouses in an obscure part of Downtown Los Angeles, Lucien Smith closed the first presentation in his new gallery, Appointment Only. “Write Large and Thick”, Alexander Muret’s inaugural solo show, is comprised of large-scale gunmetal-hued vinyl works he’d fashioned during a three-month residency at the space. The collection aims to address the anxiety that our attempts at communication are wrought with. In reference to billboards, a prevalent messaging conduit in Los Angeles, he asks, “How big can a word be before it maxes out its influence? How can expression be made more successful?” The giant strokes in Muret’s vinyl paintings, which both embody the draftsman’s line and negate its form, wrangle with his queries.
PAIGE SILVERIA — How did you and Lucien meet?
ALEXANDER MURET — We met in Paris through Supreme people — there was that store opening a while ago. I was there because I did a collaboration with Saint Laurent and just collided with a lot of friends.
PAIGE SILVERIA — What did you do with Saint Laurent?
ALEXANDER MURET — It was for Hedi Slimane’s last collection. He used some of my paintings. We worked together and it ended up being a lot of me saying what I didn’t want. They’d say, “We’re going to apply this work to this type of dress.” And I’d be like, “No. That’s ruining the integrity of the painting.” And it wasn’t supposed to be like that — they were just supposed to use the work that I made, but I was annoying about it.
PAIGE SILVERIA — You have to be when it’s your work.
ALEXANDER MURET— Yeah, which Hedi was so understanding of.
PAIGE SILVERIA — How did that come about?
ALEXANDER MURET — I was street cast for one of his shows and so I had the opportunity to meet him. And I thought, Okay, if I’m going to meet Hedi, I’m going to do something cause I like him a lot. So I gave him a set of artist books that I made. And he was interested in them so he requested to see more. From there, it developed. Then a year later it was used. It was a pretty long process.
PAIGE SILVERIA — What an opportunity!
ALEXANDER MURET — Yeah it was the finale collection and the only thing used from an artist was mine. It was crazy.
PAIGE SILVERIA — So when did you and Lucien decide to open the show?
ALEXANDER MURET— He’d already had this space. It’s his studio and he’s been renting it for maybe two years. And the adjacent building, which has my show in it, was completely empty. One day he asked me to come work out here and three days later I was here looking at the studio. I thought, Why not? It’s impossible to get this amount of space in New York City. So I started setting up a studio, which is a process in itself — like a space to work, out of nothing. And the building was completely dirty. I don’t think it’d ever been cleaned, ever. I tend to work on the floor a lot so I had to figure it out. Like throw water on the ground and mop it over and over. I was like, What do I do? Cause you can’t just grab some Windex and some paper towels. It took like six times sweeping before I didn’t see any dirt marks on the floor. It was crazy. So that took a while and then I had to figure out the furniture and the materials.
PAIGE SILVERIA — How’d you go about that?
ALEXANDER MURET — Luckily I’d gone through it in New York. I have a studio outside of the city and I had to figure out there what’s needed for a studio. It took me like a year. Everything that seemed obvious, like tables and chairs and paper towels, you forget about those things. And if you don’t have a place to put things away, they’ll get dirty. So after what took me a year, this process, I knew what to do.
PAIGE SILVERIA — How was the opening?
ALEXANDER MURET — It was great. All the people that I’ve met and become friends with here showed up in this room where I’ve been working every day. So it was a crazy moment.
PAIGE SILVERIA — Tell me about the concept behind the show.
ALEXANDER MURET — I think expression is the ultimate human desire. And not just to do it, but to do it large, because who wants to express in small way? The show’s title, “Write Large and Thick” considers the question, how large and thick can something be before losing all impact? Think of a billboard and its giant words. How big can they be before they compromise their effect? How can expression be made more successful? How can words be used to effectively sell and influence? How can our communication make more of an impact?
PAIGE SILVERIA — How does this translate to the work in the show?
ALEXANDER MURET — These paintings are made using sign vinyl, a material that’s function is to express a message. Instead of cutting out character forms, I left the vinyl in strips, as is. It’s an application as much as a removal. It’s a draftsman line as much as it is a rectangular form. Can one draftsman’s line be impactful? Can one letter cause an effect?
Text Paige Silveria and photo Brad Elterman