Photo by Efrat Cohen
On December 11, 2008 Stux Gallery hosted the opening reception for Iké Udé's latest art exhibition--Paris Hilton: Fantasy & Simulacrum. The gallery was filled with fans of the ultra creative star. Looking for a conversation piece to add to your comfortable abode? I would suggest you definitely check out this exhibition. It will have your furniture talking.
The exhibit included several pieces requiring more than just a glance. As I walked passed one of the large walls displaying what initially seemed like a beautifully pungent red wallpaper-like spread, I thought to myself, there's definitely more to this than a gorgeous pattern...lo and behold there was! Choosing to take a few steps closer allowed to me experience very small cut-outs containing unbelievably erotic images of Paris Hilton.
Paris Hilton: Grande Rouge Suite Photo courtesy of Stux Gallery
Don't let the picture above fool you. The only way to appreciate this, is by checking it out for yourself. No joke.
Double-takes, hidden smiles, laughter, shock, were all common attributes of the crowd. I doubt anyone left unsatisfied--in all aspects of the word.
Priceless instant of the event: At points I found myself staring aimlessly at a piece, lets take for example Petite Bleu Suites. After snapping out of my zone, I come to discover that all along I had been innocently fixated on Paris Hilton's @ss. This was a common occurrence throughout the night.
The second priceless scene was the look on people's faces after phasing into the artwork and making their discovery..."Oh, by gollie! It's her hairy cookie!"
The exhibition was HOT, the scene was fabulous. Socialites galore--Patrick McDonald, Coreen Simpson, artist Shimon Okshteyn and many others. Please do not miss this, whether you enjoy her or not. You all know my feeling about Paris Hilton, and I loved the exhibition. What Iké displays is nothing but the truth...read for yourself his take.
Iké agreed to answer a few questions, two of which are yours.
L: Your creativity is simply awesome. When did you realize art was a path you wanted to pursue?
I: Ever since I was a much younger lad. Being inept in mathematics pretty much meant that art is even a much exciting alternative to life.
L: Do you consider it a career or more of a past time that you happen to enjoy?
I: I breath and live art. All else doesn’t really matter to me, except the arts. So called real life is often messy and one doesn’t have much control of it. In contrast, one has much control of one’s art. Long live the arts!
L: Selecting Paris Hilton as the focus of your recent opening is viewed as a bold move by many. Was this shock-value intentionally orchestrated by your ingenuity to compliment the exhibition?
I: There is nothing shocking about Paris Hilton. She is a delightful individual who delights us all with her impish tendencies, allure, smarts and frequent girlie shows or adventures. This exhibition is not necessarily a departure from my work, only that my pictorial style has radically and dramatically changed, to my delight.
L: What caused you to select Paris Hilton as the focus of the entire exhibition, especially after leaving her out of your latest book Style File: The World's Most Elegantly Dressed? We understand the different platforms--one being of praise (your book) and the other being less of praise, but why not Brittany Spears?
I: My recent book, Style File, mustn’t be confused from my exhibition. My book is about individuals who practice and employ style as a daily discipline bordering on a spiritual catharsis. My exhibition, Paris Hilton: Fantasy & Simulacrum is a calm, exquisitely nuanced meditation on the various shades of a major pop icon of our time. Paris Hilton interests me especially because unlike pop icons of yore who had particular talents in singing, dancing, writing, etc., she doesn’t have a particular talent but rather a unique aura that is beyond any particular talent. She is in a peculiar manner, sort of or nearly omnipotent—which is a lot
L: Much of the artwork required the observer to take 2 steps closer in order to really appreciate and "see" the actual visual dimension of the piece. Is this a reflection of Paris Hilton as a person? Is she a vague entity from a distance?
I: Indeed, one need two or more steps closer in order to grasp, to articulate, to meditate, to discern and decipher the indeterminate shades of meaning that Paris Hilton presents and not necessarily embodies in her personal life.
L: For a few of the pieces, I found myself along with most, double-taking...especially with the naughty suitcase surprise you displayed in Paris Hilton: Pariscope. Can you explain this piece for us.
I: In a way, it is the central piece of the exhibition, it poeticizes the decadent and sluttish allure that is part of Ms. Hilton’s performances. Housed in such a hushed old-fashioned, vintage suitcase, with the actual photograph invisible, yet visible only through a reflection, it obliges us to look at her and ourselves in the mirror. Thus, we are Paris Hilton and the reverse is true, Paris Hilton is us. She is the ultimate mirror of all that excites and disgusts us and we should be thankful for these heroic performances of hers. The real Paris Hilton is often in bed, chilled. All we see, often, is a reflection not the actual thing. Better yet, my alter ego, Visconti, imagined her peeing elegantly in the exquisite, vintage suitcase. Now that’s hot, no?
L: Do you foresee Paris Hilton portrayed as an icon 20 years from now?
I: I am doing so now. My art-work automatically places her in a historical and critical framework. Now, art historians, art-critics and scholars are able to study her via my work.
L: The opening was indeed a success. What should your followers look out for? Is there anything stirring up that we should know about?
I: In March of last year, I commenced writing a Platonic dialogue, titled, Paris Hilton and All That. I shall introduce this dialogue via a blog ParisHiltonAndAllThat.com after my current exhibition concludes on January the 24th. This blog will be followed by a three-part movie. I will allow a few years in-between each of the three movie series, you see. And each of the movies will released in the theaters and online.
L: What is “Paris Hilton and All That,” about?
I: The long and short of it is that I’m employing Paris Hilton as a constant thread that unites and frames all the vagaries of our society at large. Thus, it’s not necessarily about Paris Hilton, but rather about us, an examination of our society’s contradictions, desires, fantasies, hypocrisies, politics, arts, sexuality, fashion, religion, attitude, glamour, etc. Stay tuned!
Much thanks to Iké for taking the time to answer these questions!
Experience the exhibition through January 24, 2009 at:
Stux Gallery: 530 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001
Here are a few pictures from the event. All Photographs by Efrat Cohen.
Stay fabulous and enjoy the holidays!