Events | Against the Edge: 2023 Frieze Art Fair at Thomas Mann House

Los Angeles, Thomas Mann House | February 13, 2023 – February 19, 2023

Curated by Jay Ezra Nayssan as part of the Frieze Los Angeles, Frieze Projects: the exhibition Against the Edge brings the work of contemporary artists into dialogue with cultural sites across the Westside, unearthing narratives of liberation and creativity as well as exile and occlusion. Against this backdrop and our annual topic "The Political Mandate of the Arts," works by artist Nicola L. will be exclusively displayed at the Thomas Mann House.

Frieze Projects: Against the Edge creates multiple parallels between the political and social practices of the Moroccan-born French artist Nicola L. and German author Thomas Mann. Spread throughout the living room and study of Thomas Mann’s home in Pacific Palisades, Nicola L.’s functional sculptures and Penetrables reveal a profound purpose while joshing with the legacy of modernist architecture.

For Both Nicola L. and Thomas Mann, the home was political. It was from his study that Mann would complete his novel Doctor Faustus as well as record his monthly anti-Nazi messages to the German people, broadcast by the BBC to Germany. Nicola, upon returning home to Paris in 1967, took to the streets with students and factory workers in the May 68 demonstrations, making a series of Penetrable protest banners. These banners were punctuated with entries for five to ten heads, with slogans such as WE WANT TO TOUCH, WE WANT TO SEE, WE WANT TO FEEL, WE WANT TO LOVE, and WE WANT TO BE LOVED stenciled across them. On view at the Thomas Mann House is an example of one of these banners with nine head-Penetrables and the phrase NOUS VOULONS ENTENDRE, or, WE WANT TO HEAR, this work resounds with Mann’s broadcasts, each of which began with the words “Germans, Listen!”

In addition to the exhibition at the Thomas Mann House, the Frieze Projects: Against the Edge also includes installations by Tony Cokes at Beyond Baroque in Venice, Kelly Akashi at the Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades, and Julie Becker at Del Vaz Projects in Santa Monica.

About the Artist

Nicola L. was born in 1932 in Morocco and died in 2019 in Los Angeles. In the 1960s, she worked in Ibiza and Paris and was part of an intellectual and artistic cohort invested in both conceptual art and pop, which included Alberto Greco, Yves Klein, and Marta Minujín. Nicola L.'s oeuvre is full of humor and wit: men as sofas, knobs as nipples, unchaste applications of faux fur. She cleverly made literal the objectification of the female form. Generally, her practice tackled representations of the body and the social persona through conceptual works, functional and domestic items, furniture, installations, paintings, films, performances, and diaristic and dreamlike drawings. Her caricatural anthropomorphic objects question the nature of subjectivity, especially in relation to her feminist concerns. Many of her sculptures invite the viewer to activate them through touch.

Visits by appointment only. Booking is required as capacity is limited.

February, 13-15-17-18

RSVP here


This project is a collaboration between Del Vaz Projects, Villa Aurora, FRIEZE and the Thomas Mann House.

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