French artist Vincent Lamouroux will transform the Sunset Pacific Motel (aka the “Bates Motel”) in Silver Lake into a temporary art installation that will capture the attention of Angelenos for two weeks. Projection is an unprecedented public art project for the city of Los Angeles, a temporary intervention into an iconic piece of L.A.’s architectural history and urban lore.
Lamouroux will cover the entire building, including its flanking palm trees and billboard, with an opaque white lime paint, essentially suspending the structure in a state of simultaneous disappearance, purification and ossification. The large bleached white structure will create a striking visual contrast against the clear blue Los Angeles sky. The lime-powder wash that will be used for Projection is completely harmless, non-toxic, non-permanent and easy to remove. It is free of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), biocides and fungicides and has been used for years on trees, especially orchards to protect and improve the health of the trees.
The Bates Motel - its nickname is loaded with references to Hollywood, filmmaking and Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “Psycho” - has stood vacant for decades and is ultimately set for demolition. This, along with L.A.’s constant state of cultural revitalization and adaptive change, inspired Lamouroux’s reinterpretation of the site. Ultimately, the artist will make a “ghost” of the motel, drawing attention to the vulnerable uncertainty of its much-contested future. The eco-friendly materials cloaking the building will eventually erode and disappear in real time as the the site's appearance changes during the installation’s limited life span. Just as the Silver Lake neighborhood itself has transformed radically in recent years and continues to evolve, Projection symbolizes a transformation, surrender and passage of time.
"Los Angeles has become a center for contemporary art and culture, and Silver Lake, home to a growing and active creative community, is an important part of that transformation,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This work by Vincent Lamouroux at the Sunset Pacific Motel property is a timely and symbolic gesture to our rich artistic and cultural landscape."
Nicolas Libert, the co-proprietor of Downtown L.A.’s Please Do Not Enter, says of the project: “Lamouroux’s Projection immediately touched us. It interrogates the American dream and the mythical qualities of Los Angeles while at the same time revealing the city’s undeniable appeal and potential. Lamouroux’s celebration of this mythic and storied architecture is the greatest and most beautiful gift we could offer the city of Los Angeles, and its vibrant international art scene. Projection represents Please Do Not Enter’s desire and purpose to open an active, cross-cultural artistic dialogue.”
Conceived by the artist over a decade ago and following more than a year of planning, Projection begins its life span with the start of installation on April 20. The work will be completed on April 26, when a first viewing and opening will take place from 3-8 p.m. On April 26, related events will be hosted at Mack Sennett Studios and at the Silver Lake Independent Jewish Community Center, co-sponsored by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council and the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council. Projection will remain on view until May 10, 2015.
The installation process and completed work will be carefully documented. Projection will be the subject of several arts education programs in collaboration with Thomas Starr King Middle School, the Silver Lake Independent Jewish Community Center and the Lycée International de Los Angeles.
Visit Projection at www.projectionla.org.