Luis Gispert is no art world neophyte, but it was his portraits of landscapes—shot from inside souped-up, designer knock-off inspired cars—that established the Brooklyn-based creative as one to watch. His latest solo show, All Oyster, No Pearl, which is at Los Angeles gallery OHWOW through May 12, only cements that status with a series of thought-provoking photographs, sculptures, and installations. “I’m still on the same ship; curiosity has changed its course,” is how Gispert explains this shift towards work that is far subtler than, say, a faux Louis Vuitton branded car interior, adding, “Evolution is the only way to fend off boredom—which leads to anxiety.”
What led Gispert from his stylized photographs and films (he first became known for his shots of “hip hop” cheerleaders) to these more minimalist, multi-dimensional pieces? “Mysteriously projects find their medium. There is no rhyme or reason; ideas come up and you intuitively know if it will be an object or time-based,” he explains. But while that transition was natural, finding a balance between the various mediums proved more difficult: “Switching gears from ‘think two-dimensionally’ to ‘[think] three-dimensionally’ can be slippery at times. It requires muscle memory and plenty of mindless time moving material around in the studio,” notes Gispert.
While there’s no overt political agenda with All Oyster, No Pearl, the name alone hints at this concept of worth and significance that Gispert explores. “Isn’t it always in flux?” he asks of the way we value items—but there are few rhetorical questions in the actual show. Instead, there are pieces like “Wishbone,” which features a fake gold chain hovering above—and through—a Hans Wegner chair (originals from the Danish mid-century modern furniture designer go for several hundred dollars). Another piece—a plated 1984 Dodge Aires sedan—blurs the line between the functional and the artifact. As for Gispert, when asked about the most valuable items in his life, he said simply, “The people I love. They own me, too.”