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Born: 1954, Detroit, Michigan
Lives and Works: Los Angeles
In a career that spans three decades, Mike Kelley has produced work in nearly every imaginable medium, consistently embracing provocation and perversion as the antitheses of primness, naiveté, and certainty. Recurring themes in his work include repressed and recovered memory, notions of the sublime, abject and debased substances and activities, and ritualistic behaviors. He frequently employs the scatological to both inquisitive and darkly humorous ends. The Kandors series (2007) takes its inspiration from the fictional city of Kandor in the Superman comics. Observing that representations of Kandor differ from one comic issue to the next, Kelley re-envisions Superman's lost homeland as miniaturized Atlantis-like cityscapes covered by glass domes. These sculptural landscapes are bathed in the glow of luminescent lights and connected via respiratory tubing to minimalist-inspired objects and architectural elements. Each of the ten assemblages corresponds to a slightly ominous, tornado-like video projection nearby. Sound, light, and motion envelop viewers of this spectacle, narrating a surrealistic topography through an all-encompassing sensory experience.