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PRETTY HURTS Solo Pop Up Show 2017

 We are very excited to announce the first exhibition of Carl Hopgood's new art and sculpture series "Pretty Hurts". Artist Carl Hopgood has partnered with The Pleasure Chest for the showing of his new work in honor of Gay Pride and to kick off Gay Pride LA. The exhibition and party will take place Friday June 9th at The Pleasure Chest from 7pm to 10pm. We look forward to seeing you! For more details, please click the link below:

 With it's seductive imagery and neon word play Pretty Hurts is a visual and subliminal mixture of seductive neon glow, suggestive intentions that reminds us of how words can create multiple levels of desire and meaning. Pretty Hurts glowing word play captures the personal and private, hidden and visible nature of our wants, needs and desires. "DRUNK PUNCH FACE FUCK" pretty much sums up the relationship and celebration experienced with a good night out on the town and an even better night with the one you brought home. It speaks to our nature of allowing ourselves to find moments where we can live life without thoughts of consequences, judgement or awareness just freedom. "Love Thug" can play out on many levels of meaning. It can describe "The Player" the one we all know who uses love as a means of control and dominance or it can reverse and describe "The Protector" the one who holds love close and cherishes it above everything else. Hopgood's "Pretty Hurts" does not take up gender or point a finger at you or me. It creates a safe place allowing us to remember, dream or embrace the things in life we miss, desire or enjoy. “There are many meanings to the work that I do. Whether the piece blinks, flashes or stays still it causes the viewer to automatically create an image or impression in their minds that adds to the experience. It allows for freedom internal or external. Creating that experience is in everything that I do,” explains Hopgood.

The colorful language of my new neon series "Pretty Hurts" can sometimes be uncomfortable in these conservative times. I made them when I arrived in LA and are inspired by the obvious and in your face Hedonistic Culture of Los Angeles and my search for love and intimacy in a city that can often be empty and lonely while appearing glitzy and glamourous. The words are a reflection of the grit and glitz of life, many big cities around the world have this duality but I think Los Angeles is the embodyment of this for me. The beauty and seduction of the neon masks a darker more sinister world which harks back to the days of The Speak Easy in times of Prohibition. Our generation can so easily forget it was illegal to be Gay and Equality was not a human right and that we often had to play in the dark under the glow of neon signs. This is why to display Pretty Hurts as a Pop Up exhibition at The Pleasure Chest Sex Store seemed so perfect to me. The Pleasure Chest is an institution, an environment which celebrates Sexuality, Openness and Equality. Sometimes to be different, to take a leap of faith and stand up for what we believe in can be painful sometimes it can be pleasurable and sometimes it can be both. - Artist Carl Hopgood

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CARL HOPGOOD’s Solo Exhibition Disposable Desire 2009  by Fiontan Moran 

 Disposable desire is something that is fleeting and seemingly insignificant and yet we place great emphasis on such moments of lust and envy. Carl Hopgood confronts the viewer with such impermanent instances within the setting of Bedroom 203 in the Groucho Club. By capturing the transient nature of desire he makes it permanent and gives it an intrinsic value. In Disposable Desire, Hopgood draws attention to these images of desire in our society and subverts notions of value and kitsch in a fetishistic manner - whether it is the back pages of a men’s magazine, night club dancers or trophy beer cans.

 As a young boy, Hopgood visited the acropolis in Athens, a grand monument of antiquity and subsequent British intervention. The sculpture and friezes from this icon of a past classical era represent value, history and the ideal male form. Hopgood’s work recalls these themes by challenging notions of taste and decency, while also exploring the concept of the body beautiful often in fragmented form. Just as the smooth precision of Greek sculpture belies the dramatic scenes portrayed, Hopgood too plays on notions of purity and value in work that draws from his personal and professional life.

 

Installation Shot Bedroom 203 at The Groucho Club London 2009 ( Sleeping Figure Sculpture/Film installation) On door Jack Pierson Drawing 2006

 Throughout Hopgood’s career he has appropriated and re-imagined pop and underground culture in a variety of different ways. In Fuck Love two dismembered clenched fists in plaster cast are displayed with an image of hands tattooed ‘FUCK’ and ‘LOVE’ over knuckles projected onto them. These antithetical ideas clearly evoke jail tattoos of LOVE and HATE. The aggressive stance of the clenched fist draws upon Hopgood’s past experience with bullying. However the inscribed words confront this provocatively, by subverting a violent gesture with one that can be seen to recall the sexual act of fisting. This apathetic perspective towards the definition of such charged and complex terminology also plays with Melanie Klein’s psychoanalytic concept of the part object. The disembodied nature of the fist can be seen to recall the infant’s relation to the exterior world, which can be felt as comforting but can appear aggressive. Hopgood is confronting such ideas of seduction and aggression in society and personal relationships.

 ‘Fucking love’ as an ethos epitomises the concept of a disposable desire, and a disenchantment with the world of sex – something that is associated with nightlife and gay subculture. This makes the Soho bedroom setting of the exhibition all the more intriguing. In this domestic space Hopgood presents glimpses of nightlife in a melancholic fashion that contrasts with the art’s graphic content. Works like his neon sign Fuck Love/Love Fuck, and the projections of Go-Go dancers, recall the superficial, beautiful and intoxicating nature of night life, that is also arresting in it’s truthful representation. Nude figures from this environment come to be reconsidered as emblems of an epoch, like those of Classical antiquity. In doing so he presents the viewer with a world of sparkle, smoke and mirrors.

 The transitory nature of the show plays into the illusory nature of Hopgood’s work, which literally plays with the idea of existence, appearance and reality through the practical use of projection. He creates a liminal space for the viewer; one that exists in a state of transference from reality to dream and back again. The projection on solid plaster forms, which in itself is an index of another figure, only becomes ‘alive’ when the projection is present. In the fists we witness the contrast between the supposed solid rendering of a human form in a ghostly manner and the reality of this artifice, which is also evocative of the ghost-like nature of hotel rooms.

 By placing a spotlight upon objects Hopgood thereby places an importance upon them, a value. The fists become sacred objects that are to be admired, just as he displays beer cans and celebrity stained wine glasses in a manner similar to trophy paraphernalia. Hopgood blurs the lines between value and taste, by presenting often shocking and contemporary subject matter in classical terms, just as the non-gallery setting challenges the norm of the white cubed gallery space. Like much art that embraces commercial aspects of society, Hopgood is attempting to reveal the core essence of a diminishing modern life in a time of recession. Just as Greek statues of antiquity would have been originally painted in brash primary colours at odds with their pure alabaster present appearance, Hopgood reveals the light and the dark, the past and the present of a lifestyle of lust and aspiration. In ‘Disposable Desire’ the impermanent medium of the work and the temporary nature of the exhibition, recreates the fleeting nature of desire and etches it into the memory of the viewer permanently.