News |Frieze - Against The Edge

In a first-time collaboration with Frieze Art Fair, Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House were part of what Cultured Magazine called Frieze's "biggest program yet" (Cultured Magazine, February 2nd, 2023). Curated by Jay Ezra Nayssan as part of the Frieze Los Angeles Projects, the exhibition Against the Edge brought the works of contemporary artists into dialogue with cultural sites across the Westside.

Detail of Heirloom by Kelly Akashi

Against this backdrop and our historic landmark works by Kelly Akashi have been exclusively displayed at Villa Aurora. In conjunction with the annual topic "The Political Mandate of the Arts," works by artist Nicola L. have been been exhibited at the Thomas Mann House.

Kelly Akashi’s family story resonates in history with the story of Lion and Marta Feuchtwanger: Shortly after Akashi’s paternal family was forced into the American concentration camp at Poston in the early 1940s, Villa Aurora was purchased by Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta after they escaped the Camp des Milles concentration camp in southern France. Exhibiting the work of Kelly Akashi, whose practice has engaged deeply with the site of the Poston Internment Camp, at Villa Aurora folds history in on itself. Both stories refer to the significance of the home as a place of shelter as well as to the precariousness of this concept.

At the Thomas Mann House, Frieze Projects: Against the Edge created multiple parallels between the political and social practices of the Moroccan-born French artist Nicola L. and German author Thomas Mann. Spread throughout the living room and study of Thomas Mann’s home in Pacific Palisades, Nicola L.’s functional sculptures and Penetrables reveal a profound purpose while joshing with the legacy of modernist architecture. For Both Nicola L. and Thomas Mann, the home was political. It was from his study that Mann would complete his novel Doctor Faustus as well as record his monthly anti-Nazi messages to the German people, broadcast by the BBC to Germany. Nicola, upon returning home to Paris in 1967, took to the streets with students and factory workers in the May 68 demonstrations, making a series of Penetrable protest banners. To learn more about the Nicola L. at Thomas Mann House, watch this video here!

From the first press conference at Thomas Mann House to the last day of the exhibition, the project made waves across the Westside. Over the course of two weeks a total of 440 of visitors have seen Kelly Akashi's works Time Twine (Red Poppy), 2022 Fractured Thigh Tooth, 2021 and Heirloom, 2022 at Villa Aurora alone.

In addition to the exhibitions at Villa Aurora and the Thomas Mann House, Frieze Projects: Against the Edge also included installations by Tony Cokes at Beyond Baroque in Venice, and Julie Becker at Del Vaz Projects in Santa Monica. To explore how each of these places connected narratives of liberation, creativity, exile, and occlusion specific to the their sites, please click here.

Photos by Paul Salveson. Courtesy of Frieze; Nicola L. Collection and Archive; and Alison Jacques, London.

This project is a collaboration between Del Vaz Projects, Villa Aurora, FRIEZE and the Thomas Mann House.

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