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Social Media using us: “The Like Me”

14 Mar
"The Like Me" by Lala Drona video cover

The newest addition to artist Lala Drona’s video series “La Minute Ladrona (The Stolen Minute)” has just been released:  Title:  “The Like Me” (video below.)

video still "The Like Me" by Lala Drona

As if social media were a cosmic invader on the human species, the video begins with a view of Earth from outer space, and lands in Lala Drona’s home city, Paris, France. The viewer finds the artist underground, inside an air shaft.  Alone, and illuminated only by the light of her phone, she begins to voice opinions and expressions that have become all too familiar to anyone growing up post-millennial.    

The performance art video “The Like Me” delves into the isolating effects of social media through its guise of connection.  This video experience, examines the normalised anxiety we feel on a daily basis.

"The Like Me" by Lala Drona video still

The art performance video series “La Minute Ladrona” exists within the context of a confined space.  The black backdrop and  unknown location capture the viewer for a moment of intimacy through the screen.  However, “The Like Me” stands to be the first time Lala Drona has located herself in the context of our outside world— now injecting elements of story into this video series.

"The Like Me" by Lala Drona video still

“The Like Me” being the 7th, and most recent instalment, has critics and academics alike seeing the beginnings of an evolution regarding the art video series.  As one critic in the L.D. Confidential stated: “The Like Me is the first time that Lala Drona has played with the idea of space and context.  She has become a being which exists in our shared world, albeit still hidden in the dark corners of it.  She is publicly appropriating the role of “observer.”  The detailed work regarding lighting, place and concept, shows a confidence and artistic maturity.  This new instalment promises more exciting things to come regarding Lala Drona’s work.”

This video has Art fans asking if this video is a sign of coming changes in Lala Drona’s social media presence. Perhaps this video is what remains from the journey she’s made from tool to master. One thing is certain: the creation of this piece shows us that no one is immune to the effects of social media. Even when an artist attempts to evade it, its omnipotence proves itself by resurfacing in her work.

Chalie Malonie, Digital ArtWorld Newsletter

Second Painting in Triptych Released

14 Dec
Based on a fact article Painting by Lala Drona Triptych Female Frame: The Stage, 2019, Acrylic on Canvas, 20cm x 20cm

Lala Drona continues her project on “The Female Frame” finishing the second painting in the triptych.

The project “Female Frame” is a response to the question “What would the world look like through female eyes?” She states: “While growing up, a lot of emphasis is placed on how girls look and present themselves to the world. Images of “the trophy wife,” an object used only to increase the status of the man next to her. The “instagram look,” where women are augmenting their bodies, both surgically and digitally, in exchange for audience approval in the form of likes and comments…”

Painting by Lala Drona Triptych Female Frame: The Stage, 2019, Acrylic on Canvas, 20cm x 20cm
Female Frame: The Stage, 2019, Acrylic on Canvas, 20cm x 20cm

“…When it comes to scrutiny, women’s bodies have always been open game. Open game to be commented on by passerbys on the street, to be ridiculed for how they dress or present themselves. This is why the stage is an appropriate setting for the next room represented in this project. Women are born into the role of entertainer to the masses; when they leave the home (private space) and go into public spaces, they are put on stage. And it’s once the entertainer is on stage that the public feels that they are permitted to comment on her, right? Because, after all, they wouldn’t go up there, on stage (into the public world) in front of everyone, if they didn’t want the attention, right?” This piece examines the societal role of “visual entertainment” placed on women when they occupy public spaces.

If you’d like to see more about the project “Female Frame” click here.

Questioning Our Images: The Female Frame

21 Nov

Examination of the image becomes vital in a period of history marked by the smartphone and its accessibility to image and video creation.  Lala Drona inspires others to question the origins of our daily images through her research into topics concerning le regard (the gaze).

Painting by Lala Drona Female Frame, 2019, Acrylic on Canvas, 20cm x 20cm
Female Frame, 2019, Acrylic on Canvas, 20cm x 20cm

During her appearance at the Bienvenu Art Fair at the Cité des Arts in Paris, journalist and video editor Mathieu Mieleszko followed Lala Drona to document the release of her painting “Female Frame.”  In this video, Mieleszko delves into the artist’s intention behind the painting, and provides a link between her artistic universe and its real-world applications.  His cinematographic style in this video is influenced by concepts behind the piece, mimicking le regard which follows behind the artist during the exhibition.  The style critiques the traditional objectification of women depicted through the male gaze, as women in the video are not simply objects to be seen, but instead look back (appearances by: video artist Jamika Ajalon, and stained glass artist Alison Koehler).   

Lala states that her present work on the female gaze examines “issues in the lack of diversity in the transmission of images and stories throughout history.  Our images predominantly come from creators of the same profile (male, white, heterosexual).  It’s not to say that these stories are not important, it’s to say that it’s time to share the stage.  We want different stories, a broader understanding of the diverse human condition.  And it’s time to bring commonly silenced voices to the forefront.”

Lala Drona at Cite des Arts Bienvenu Art Fair 2019 Galerie Arnaud Lefebvre
Video still from Mieleszko’s film

 Her painting “Female Frame” not only inspires others to question the profile of the person behind our images, but also the corporate and political entities.  “We are bombarded with too many images today, in the form of Instagram, and other social networks.  Advertisers and political campaigns are able to post images at the same level of importance as the images from our friends and community.  The infinite scroll feature facilitates the mindless consumption of these images, and we are only beginning to see the negative effects of this.” 

            Lala Drona intends to create three paintings under the concept of “the female frame.” 

Video editing by Mathieu Mieleszko:
https://vimeo.com/user20455396
Music in video by Sim Hutchins:
https://soundcloud.com/simhutchins
https://simhutchins.bandcamp.com/

L.D. Times Article 2019: Clare Steele and Lala Drona

8 Nov
L.D. Times: Artist to Artist Interview: Clare Steele / Lala Drona, 2019

The L.D. Times releases its yearly article in a new format, this time doubling its artist coverage. Clare Steele (Australia) and Lala Drona (France), talk about their digital friendship, and what it means to be an artist today.

Lala Drona and Clare Steele interview 2019

Lala Drona, painter / videaste, and Clare Steele, conceptual documentary photographer, first met in Seville, Spain in June 2018. They met in an all-female artist residency, and with Ezra Enzo (USA), abstract painter, became a solid international artist trio.

“They really bounce well off of one another,” said other artists-in-residence about the trio. “Since the residency, they’ve been able to keep in contact and support one another from 3 different continents through voice message.”

When approached about the topic, Lala Drona stated, “I’m so happy to have these women in my life. This is an artist friendship that represents our times: Three strong female artists, living in different countries, empowering one another by sharing our experiences through smartphone applications, in long-form voice notes. Sometimes I feel like these voice-notes are our contemporary letter-writing.”

When Clare Steele visited Paris, France in October this year, it was essential that they finally record one of these conversations. Click below to read the full article.

To read all L.D. Times articles, click here.

Artist Family Values: Lala begins research

26 Sep
Lala Drona spotted at exhibition in Paris
Lala Drona spotted at exhibition

In an interview with Art & Stylin’ Magazine, Lala Drona said that she has been “taking a break from output to reassess.”  The artist stated that she continues to work on creative projects, but in order to dive deeper into other projects, social media and blog posts had to be put on the back-burner:

“I’ve reduced my output online because of my commitment to essential projects offline. I came to the realization that in my journey as an artist, my values seem to be holding me back, creatively and otherwise. The troubling thing is, these values I speak of, arise, and stop me from moving forward; they are walls that do not explain themselves. I’ve realized that for better or worse, these values have been transmitted to me, through exterior sources. I’ve never taken a moment to work through the voices policing me to be a “good” person, or “good” artist. Because I like the person I have become, and I like the life I lead today, I have never thoroughly investigated the origins of these “values.” Now that I am an adult, and no longer a young person clutching on to stable things in an unstable reality, it’s time to unpack them. I’ve decided to begin writing about my values as an artist, to find out what it means to be an artist today in this new world.”

Thibaut Narme spotted in Paris at Au Chat Noir with Lala Drona
Thibaut Narme, Economics Lecturer and friend of Lala Drona

Lala Drona was spotted at Au Chat Noir interviewing Thibaut Narme, a lecturer at a business school in Paris.  Sources say that Lala Drona was researching for a section of the essay that examines free market capitalism and the role of the artist within it.  She mentioned other topics in the essay would include Death to the bohemian artist and The young and the mature artist.

“My European Art Tour was enlightening.  I feel like I’m finally seeing everything from outside myself—starting to see the strings of how everything works—I’ve been seemingly invited to the game my whole life, but it’s only now that I finally understand the rules. I’ve definitely had to take an unconventional path to get them.  Now, I’m finally getting ready to play.”

For some experts, these statements raise red flags.  As Lala Drona has not yet left the doghouse regarding her reputation involving allegations of muse abuse.  However, after her stint in Paris Art Prison, she seems to have turned over a new leaf, committing herself to use everything she’s learned through her experiences (and muse experiments!) to help her fellow artists.

Lala Drona is also preparing for participation in the group exhibition “Turtle Bienvenu” at the Cité des Arts in Paris—the opening on October 12th from 6pm-11pm.  Lala Drona plans to continue her exploration of the female gaze, in the form of painting on canvas and in a video performance.  Don’t miss her first show since returning to Paris.

Newest video, desire or self-destruction?

20 Jul
Lala Drona photo from art performance shaving video "Willing"

Lala Drona’s latest performance video titled “Willing” has just been released.  The performance examines desire, choice, and notions of consent.  Critic Leanne Richmond stirred up media response with her recent reading of Lala Drona’s video, stating that, for her, the video is about “the inability to resist self-destructive behaviour.”  Based on a Fact caught up with Lala to learn more about the inspiration behind the video performance:

Lala Drona photo from art performance shaving video "Willing"

Lala Drona was inspired by ideas surrounding consent.  “I was thinking about the complexities of sexuality and society, and how in order to receive consent, we must in some way, already trespass.  In my video, this is demonstrated by how you cannot see the answer (yes or no) until the irreversible move is made by shaving.  Unwanted advances, verbal and physical, are seen as harassment (regardless of gender).  However, without them, we do not know how to begin advances towards what we want.  In a similar vein, this notion of obtaining consent is not at all new to women.  We have been systematically programmed to ask for consent to speak, consent to be part of to the team, consent to just be in the room.  Women asking men to start including it in their sexual practices is really nothing in comparison.”

Lala Drona photo from art performance shaving video "Willing"

Lala Drona mentions that the title “Willing” is not meant to be understood at face value, and is meant to be taken as humour au second degré.

Nonetheless, art critic Leanne Richmond theorised that “since Lala Drona is the only individual in the piece, this is really a piece about identity and the psyche.  The performer is asking and receiving consent from herself.  This demonstrates the loving and destructive acts we commit on ourselves.  In the video, although the performer’s psyche is saying “stop” (on the skin of her head), she is unable to resist the temptation to self-destructive behaviour, shown by the shaving of the rest of her hair.”

What do you think about Lala Drona’s newest art performance video? 

Spotted: Lala in Paris and on Crutches

12 Jul
Lala Drona spotted in Paris on crutches wearing winter 2018 OAMC and Nike Ambush collaboration sneakers

Despite plans to return in August 2019, journalists have recently spotted Lala Drona on the streets of Paris sporting a new look. Ms. Drona has left her hair bleach bottles behind, and has returned to an auburn look this summer.  Accompanying her winter 2018 OAMC vest (menswear), she sported 2019 Nike-Ambush collaboration sneakers, topped off with her iconic round sunglasses by Gentle Monsters.  Previously, Lala Drona had never been caught wearing designer clothes on the streets of Paris…which begs the question: What’s with this new look?

Fashion specialists speculate that Lala’s new style reflects her growing financial success in the art world. Lala Drona can simply afford to wear the pieces that she admires, and therefore does. Another theory has Lala Drona and these brands in cahoots, suspecting a secret endorsement deal. Whatever the case, the accessories which intrigued and concerned journalists most were the crutches which support her. 

Lala Drona spotted in Paris on crutches wearing winter 2018 OAMC and Nike Ambush collaboration sneakers and Gentle Monster sunglasses

Lala Drona refused to comment when approached on the street, but journalists presume her injury was cause for her return.  Our team followed up on the story and traced back Lala Drona’s steps from her European voyage. Having stopped in Copenhagen on her way to Paris, we met up with passenger assistance.  Lala Drona, had checked out a wheelchair, and employee Emil Hansen was selected to help transport her to her terminal and airplane.  “She was friendly, and we made casual conversation.  She told me that she injured her knee painting.”

Lala Drona spotted in Paris on crutches wearing winter 2018 OAMC and Nike Ambush collaboration sneakers and Gentle Monsters sunglasses

Emil Hansen failed to reveal details regarding the story, leaving journalists and fans in the dark regarding her hard core painting methods.  However, one thing is certain. The European Tour has come to an early end.  Lithuania was the last stop on Lala Drona’s year-long tour, and now she is expected to settle in Paris once again.  

This is BETWEEN US.

5 Jul
Lala Drona with diptych "Between Us" paintings about interactions between women and how we may also contribute to systematic oppression

For the past four weeks, Lala Drona has escaped the hustle and bustle of the city and has retired in the small town of Kintai, Lithuania.  Away from distractions, Lala Drona has created a new diptych titled “Between Us.”

The first panel depicts several figures ascending, while the panel on the right depicts the same figures descending.  After an interview with Lala Drona, Diana Springer from the Daily Artlife Network relays what the artist said about these paintings:

Between Us by Lala Drona, painting 2 panels about women either uniting or destroying one another.

Between Us demonstrates the two choices that women have, starting from our first encounters with one another. We can ascend together, or destroy one another. The asymmetrical reflectivity of the bodies represent the slippery difference between creation and destruction. Observations show that first encounters between men and between women differ in the western world. In first meetings, men approach other men as if they are “friends first, and enemies later.” They are friendly, until the other provides a reason that they should not be.

In a world where women are statistically offered less opportunity than men, it is no wonder that women approach each other as enemies first. There is a smaller piece of the pie offered to them, so they are pitted against one another to fight over that smaller piece. This is why women approach one another with the mentality of “enemies first, friends later” (Springer, Daily Artlife Network, Issue XXII).

Lala Drona also stated that in her experience, not all women approach other women as enemies first.  “I’ve met women that are absolutely welcoming.  Other’s have given me the impression that I have to prove myself before we can be friendly. I created this diptych to show how we [women] may also be contributing to systematic oppression.”  This piece serves as a call to action to all women.  Lala Drona claims that the first step to unite as women is to change our perceptions of one another in our first encounters.  Perhaps, if we can see one another as allies first, rather than competition, we will be able to protect and trust one another.  And in the end, help each other rise to create a world where we can exercise our potential and prosper by our own rules.

Based on a Fact

The Colonel and the Muse Part II

7 Dec

It had been 3 days now since things had gone south with Muse Leira—she wanted Lala Drona out, out of that room as soon as possible.  Never had she ever met an artist so enveloped by her own work, so committed to her own style and message, an artist with vision alright…with tunnel vision. 

Muse Leira tried, time and time again, to inspire Lala Drona to continue her and Colonel Morgado’s work with battle strategies. She tried to influence Lala to wage art war on the Art Guild: the legislation which passed all art-related laws.   When that didn’t work, She tried to influence the artist to strategise against those who did not believe in art.  She tried to convince Lala of the destructive force that she possessed when she put paintbrush to canvas.  Muse Leira’s work with Colonel Morgado had been left unfinished, and she wanted Lala, more than any other artist to have entered that room before, to implement the battle strategies that Leira and the Colonel had started, into her paintings.

Lala Drona refused to accept the muse’s battle inspiration, and arrogantly explained to Muse Leira how this creative collaboration would unfold.  Lala had already decided on a concept, and merely needed the muse to help her develop the images for it.   The concept for the triptych of paintings would examine the development of online relationships/friendships, from the digital to the real.   It would unfold over three parts on three canvases:

Canvas 1:  “We Find Our Match in the Digital Masses”

Canvas 2: “We Give Each Other Space to Grow”

Canvas 3: “Together, We Make Each Other Human”

“Together we make each other human?  What’s so great about being human anyway?” Leira said.

Lala explained. “I meant for “human” to be taken metaphorically…like coming together in real life is what helps us maintain our humanity— or our compassion—empathy…”

“You are insinuating that “humanity” only expresses a compassionate side—while today more than ever we are witnessing humanity’s “inhumanity”. Not to mention, that idea is corny.  It would be a disservice to the entire triptych.  I’ll sign off on the first two ideas, but the third has got to go.”

Lala laughed, “I don’t think you really understand your role here.”

“Role?  You will suffer if you chose to stay in this room and not implement my inspiration.”

Lala scoffed and ignored the muse.  She threw herself into the work, but her ideas did not flow; she felt creatively blocked.  Sketching the third idea was like trying to manoeuvre a paintbrush with her toes.  The images would not translate onto paper.  But Lala kept drawing, too committed to her method.

Through the night, Lala persisted with her work but not without rebellion from Muse Leira.  Over the next few nights, Leira appeared to the dog outside Lala’s room.  At first, the barking only distracted Lala slightly, as she told herself that she would get used to it, just as she got used to the other sounds of the town.

Hours upon hours, the dog barked outside of her window, a rhythmic barking that ricocheted off the walls of the colonel’s room—every burst of canine scream was a wack over Lala’s ears. Muse Leira appeared over Lala as she drew, willing her own inspiration into the artist’s mind.  The more Lala resisted, the more Leira’s inspiration would change shape and become stronger.  With every wave of inspiration, Lala’s drawing began to warp and transform as well, into circles and lines, a battle strategy that she could not decipher.

The church bells clanged, the roosters cooed and every dog in that town barked simultaneously in the same rhythmic pattern. Lala covered her ears and screamed as an image of Muse Leira and Colonel Morgado emerged from a white fog with their troops behind them.  Flashes of bloodshed, of flesh in the air, a mix or white and red coalesced into a pink cloud.  They marched on through the pink fog…then, as quickly as it came, the image went dark again.  A new image came into Lala’s mind.  The artist, followed by her drones and muses, sitting atop a globe, sitting atop with someone she had never met before…working together towards a common goal. 

Lala began drawing the new image, and as she drew, the cacophony outside dulled; it subsided. Muse Leira appeared at her side with a hesitant smile.  Lala finished the drawing, but just as her pencil left the paper, the noise started up again.

Lala covered her ears and Muse Leira peered closer at the new concept for the third painting.  She read the title below:

Canvas 3: “Together, We Conquer the World.”

Muse Leira couldn’t have been happier with the results of their collaboration—she thought of Colonel Morgado, their late nights together planning their battle strategies, side by side like in Lala’s drawing.  Before the Colonel’s death, Muse Leira thought that they would one day conquer the world, and now through Lala Drona’s piece, in some way, they had. 

Muse Leira looked up from the sketch, and found Lala packing her bags.  The barking had stopped outside, but continued to pulsate through Lala’s mind. 

“The barking in my head won’t stop.” Lala said.  Lala held her head and threw her backpack over her shoulder.  She smiled.  “And I think our work here is done.”  She approached Muse Leira, who was standing in front of the door of the room.  Lala stood there, canvases under her arms, and looking Leira up and down.  She took a deep breath and then hugged her. “Thank you, Leira…for everything— I know I’m not easy to work with, and my inspiration extraction techniques are unconventional, but I knew you could do it all along.”  Lala patted Leira on the shoulder.  “Well done.”  Lala sighed, pushed through the doorway, and ventured into the night. 

The Colonel and the Muse

9 Nov

muse leira and lala

Lala Drona (right), and Muse Leira (left)

What Lala Drona wrote had the tendency to come true.  Fortunately (and unfortunately)  for her, all the desires and dreams that she had written had already come true, and she was now living them.  Lala lied alone in her bed and thought about how creation comes from a lack, and how a satiated writer isn’t much of a writer at all.  Lala thought about what she wanted.  What did she desire?  Perhaps it was world domination, perhaps it was to get the art laboratory  back in business.  Whatever it was, it was in that moment that Lala realized she wanted nothing more than to be lying next to someone else.

 

The story of Muse Leira

In 18th century Portugal, in the small town of Messejana, Colonel Morgado died and left his estate to his four servants.  His loyal and dedicated Muse, grew depressed from the lack of creative collaboration with the Colonel.  Over the years that followed, the battle strategy notebooks and plans they created together disappeared,  buried in dust.  Muse Leira refused to occupy any other room after the Colonel’s death and condemned herself to those four walls for eternity.

1d97249ba2ebdef78247378a53c1889f

Messejana, Portugal

It wasn’t until recently, three centuries later, that Leira had the opportunity to dust off her inspiration projectors and collaborate with artists visiting the Colonel’s room.

 

The last servant left alive in the house decided to move into the house next door and rent out the Morgado home.  A young couple moved into the house with their baby, but made a point to stay out of the Colonel’s room at night, as recommended by the previous owner.  Muse Leira haunted the room at all hours, but her image only appeared at night, when she had the power to touch the tenants of the room.

The couple converted the house into an art residency, inviting international artists from

Screenshot 2018-11-09 at 18.51.43

Colonel Morgado’s room

around the world to visit and work on their projects.

 

Winnie was the first to stay in the Colonel’s room.  She was an ink-landscape painter from China.   The lights constantly switched on and off and the bulbs burned out.  Winnie saw Muse Leira for the first time on the night of the new moon.  She could not sleep and when she opened her eyes and rolled over, a head covered in a white cloth bag stared straight back at her.  Needless to say, Winnie left the residency early.
Madeleine was the next to stay in the Colonel’s room.  She was an abstract expressionist painter from France.  She began work right away on the first day and filled the room with canvas and color.  When she woke up the first morning, she saw that all of her t-shirts and pants had been thrown on the floor.  But no matter, she submitted to the strong inspiration that boiled from within and jumped out of bed to continue painting. 70_year_old_art_supplies_by_kymmacaleb-d492xvm.jpg

Night fell and while working at her desk, Madeleine tipped over a bottle of varnish.  She desperately looked for a cloth to absorb the liquid and took one that was handed to her.  She dabbed the painting with no result, and looked down at the cloth to find it was one of her t-shirts from the floor.  She looked to her side to see who handed it to her, and Muse Leira stood there, wearing all of Madeleine’s clothes and giggling.  After a bit of an awkward meeting, Madeleine and Leira became good friends and collaborated easily for the remainder of her stay in the Colonel’s room.

After Madeleine left, the room grew cold again, the air stagnant without the flow of creative energy.  A week went by and artist Lala Drona, an American painter living in Paris,Screenshot 2018-11-09 at 18.51.05 moved into the Colonel’s room.  On the first day, Lala rearranged the room to take advantage of the light coming in from the windows.  Lala’s painting materials still hadn’t arrived and she felt herself growing weak from the lack of creation.  She woke up in the middle of the night sick with a cold.  The roosters crowed and the dogs barked outside, rattling the bed she slept in.  Lala found the strength to approach the tissue box in front of the mirror on the other side of the room.  She grabbed a tissue and while blowing her nose, she looked into the mirror to find the head covered in a cloth bag standing behind her.  Lala would have screamed if she hadn’t lost her voice.

Muse Leira ran across the wall and knocked a trapped door open before hiding in the corner.  Realizing Leira was a muse, and having had extensive experience with muses, Lala tried to calm her while tiptoeing towards the trapped door.  Inside, Lala found old paintings on paper—portraits of the Colonel and his servants.  Further inside, she found charcoal.IMG_3345

Lala started coughing and Muse Leira led her back to bed.  Muse Leira brought over a board with paper and the charcoal and sat next to Lala.  She set up the drawing board and Lala began sketching out ideas for paintings.  She thought about what she wanted.  She thought about the relationships she had had with the Drones (assistants in her former art laboratory), other artists and muses.  Muse Leira reminded her that it is those relationships which make Lala human.

 


Over the next few days, Leira nursed Lala back to health.  Leira inspired Lala, and Lala grew stronger with every collaboration.  Lala’s painting supplies finally arrived, and thanks to Muse Leira, she is now off to a strong beginning.

Based on a fact.

Kendal Dreges, Minisota Artlife Press

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