Students of metaphysics commonly debate about time and space as an arc—curving and perhaps boomeranging, to ends that are difficult to articulate. Los Angeles–based artist Amir H. Fallah, however, postulates the experience of time and space as something more solid and tangible, akin to a structure engineered for indiscriminate movement back and forth. All Experience Is an Arch at Hap Gallery is an experiential recounting of a familial legacy as it can only be regarded posthumously—as it can be summarized from a sparingly objective distance. In the immersive installation, Fallah repurposes years’ worth of trinkets found at an estate sale in Los Angeles: purchased and treasured, but curiously not precious enough to pass down.
Fallah undertakes the exhibition in the same spirit as someone who has been charged with crafting a loved one’s eulogy. He delivers a few humanizing jabs to remind us of their fallibility and eccentricities, but by and large, communicates the family’s many memorable and exceptional traits. First Person Shooter Games, the exhibition’s standout painting, dominates the gallery’s main hall. A shrouded female figure is athletically poised to deliver a chest-pass in the direction of her voyeur. She is surrounded by reminders of her youth: golden bells, an impressive quantity of hard-won basketball trophies, and the style of monogrammed initials typically found on the possessions of those aspiring toward sophistication. Two hands, in mid-knit or purl, foreground the scene, indicating that the cloaked subject was as domestically talented as she was at sport. Though her likeness is well hidden, her identity is based on clues gathered about the family’s matriarch.
Clothing, old photographs, and writings from the estate sale provide access to the family, with which Fallah calculatedly decides to obscure or detail throughout the exhibition. The gallery walls are covered, floor to ceiling, in a dark spotted pattern from fabric found throughout the family home. Fallah reproduces many such patterns on small painted panels, never neglecting the billowing, wrinkles, and folds. The paintings are dispersed throughout the installation, tucked around unassuming corners, or hung at exceedingly strange heights. Titled Between the Folds (2015) in serial progression, these works are keen references of cultural connection and perhaps socioeconomic status. The fabrics, decorated in golden honeycombs, birds, and elaborate paisleys, are unknown in their original material and use.