October 2017: Kara Gut

In Blog By by Haley Kedziora On March 20, 2018


Kara Gut, ESC installation view



ESC by Kara Gut is a multimedia exhibition that utilizes video, mixed media, photography and sculpture. The work incorporates the digital into the physical, conversing on how virtual spaces affect intimacy between people, the detachment of reality, the power dynamics within the virtual and the relationship of one’s identity online.


The work’s base structure is the relationship between hyper consumerism online and the audience’s physical interaction with the virtual. The sculpture, The Basic Bitch Bath, a television is propped up on multiple boxes of La Croix as it plays a video created by the artist. In the video, the artist is wearing plastic wrap as she performs a karaoke version of Lana Del Rey’s Summertime Sadness over a green screen  projection of a tropical beach. The duration of the video the artist pours La Croix over her body as she sings, throwing off the expectation of the woman’s role and subverting the patriarchal consumption of a visible femme identifying body online. The expectations to perform, or act sexually for the male gaze can be acted through the pouring of La Croix down her body but then it’s disrupted by the barrier the plastic creates and the glitches that interrupt the video. As well through the performance, the artist is dancing in her own pleasure that further subverts male’s desire. The artist uses the relevance of Lana Del Rey to create a connection to the viewer and ‘popular’ subculture. The video is a mockery of the way a woman consumer can exist within virtual space. As well, the sculpture employs headphones, generating intimacy through the interaction of the audio and centers the viewer on a closer understanding of the video, which itself, is a detached object in the physical realm.




Kara Gut, The Basic Bitch Bath installation view



The desires, or the expectations on the physical body is prominent in the work, but in addition the desires within one’s own escapism is present, too. On the left wall four photoshopped prints incorporate hidden symbols and metaphors that tie the themes of the advertisement and detachment from reality. To be noted, one of the prints, Escape 1 (La Croix Life), is tucked behind a nook in the wall and can only be viewed by that direction. In Escape 3 (The Feed), the print depicts the action of multiple hands taking pictures of the perfect, tropical beach in the background. On the phones’ screens, an image of a glitch replaces the selected image the hands are trying to focus on. The glitches displace the want of the consumer; deconstructing the tropical beach from the real and pivoting on the consumer to reflect their own wants of escaping reality to the virtual. Sitting in the corner is another work, Surface Tensions, that speaks about the issues of the object and escapism as well. A television sits in front of a security mirror that is tucked in the left corner of the gallery. A video of an Adobe stock image plays silently and one must look at the video through the reflection of the mirror to watch it comfortably. This prompts the viewer to digest the image on the mirror rather than acknowledge the television as an object next to them and literally, the concept of the consumer is reflected back to the viewer.


Reflecting Pools are the artist’s combination of sculpture and image. Printed on the three boards are images that are then painted overtop by a deep blue, blurring the information. The boards lean against the wall, aligned directly with each Escape piece on the opposing wall. The boards are metaphorical pools of water that ‘reflects’ how image, consuming, branding and the internet has changed art. It is the artist’s own interpretation on her show and her expression of her thought process.




Kara Gut,  installation view



ESC houses video, photography and sculpture that allows the viewer to experience and reflect the work at the same time. Collectively the color pallets are cohesive which allows the show to slip into the conversation of branding and the cultures within those spheres that influence the desires of society and daily life. ESC is about the separation of reality and the virtual, revealing how closely they coexist.