Los Angeles-based Scoli Acosta transforms images and objects gleaned from daily life, literature, mass culture, and dreams. Acosta’s work is characterized by what he describes as an “aesthetics of resourcefulness”—the artist favors humble materials, economic gestures, and transparency with respect to craft. His installations emerge as poetic constellations that reveal traces of his research and production processes, as well as his movements through various landscapes.
Scoli Acosta: ELEMENTALISTHMUS—the artist’s first solo museum exhibition on the West Coast—features a number of his Pentagonal Monochromes (tambourines), which are composed of canvas stretched over handmade stretcher bars, edged by jingles made from flattened bottle caps. Acosta became interested in the pentagonal form after seeing Chris Marker’s film The Sixth Side of the Pentagon, which documents the 1967 March on the Pentagon in protest of the war in Vietnam. It was in the context of Marker’s film that he encountered Yippee prankster Abbie Hoffman’s performative attempt to levitate the Pentagon: Hoffman claimed levitation could be achieved using psychic energy to raise the building until it turned orange and began to vibrate. Levitating the Pentagon (at the Pentagon) (2012) depicts the artist on a visit to Washington D.C., where he raises up his own vibrating orange pentagon in homage to Hoffman.
Acosta’s work is deeply informed by his travels, and this exhibition debuts new work made during a recent residency in Morocco. His new “totems” comprise circular, double-sided monochromes strung together and hung from the ceiling, and are inspired by Moroccan Bendir drums. Other works in Scoli Acosta: ELEMENTALISTHMUS draw out thematic relationships to geography and the traversal of landscapes. From his Earth and Sky Monochromes (2012) to his Orange Floating Moiré Effect (2011-ongoing)—a painting designed to float in the ocean—Acosta’sworks describe not only the elements of painting, but also elements of the natural world, as they index the artist’s passageways across earth, sky, and sea.
Scoli Acosta: ELEMENTALISTHMUS is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego with the support of Dar al-Ma’mûn International Residency Center for Artists. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.