Herencia Trilogy | Mixed media narrative library for the Getty Underground

The Herencia Trilogy narrative library built for the Getty Underground art show is a Greetings From L.A. tribute (featured in the Getty Research Institute’s Pacific Standard Time exhibition) and it is inspired by a variety of work by Al Ruppersberg and Orhan Pamuk’s ‘The Museum of Innocence, as well as an overall questioning of what difference an individual or group of individuals can make with their life… What elements of our history are inherited through genetics, community, culture, society and nature? How much influence does it have on our identity or our future and how much of it plays a role through all of humanity’s shared history? Are the allegories told in Plato’s Republic, Voltaire’s Candide or even the Bible’s Genesis relevant in our current day dilemmas? How do a lifetime of toil or chance events affect our path? Is it predetermined fate or force of will that ultimately drives our narrative?

The mixed media art installation is made from the drawer of an antique travel trunk made by the historic, L.E. Morrison & Company. Representing both a grave monument and a home shrine, it is filled with various made and found objects that might appear in a personal memory box, but allude to travel, immigration, assimilation, and commerce interwoven in the fictional and real narratives of Los Angeles history, as well as it’s ties to the border with Mexico. As if watching over a cemetery, the angel above requests silence and hints to the unspoken stories and narratives of the city that may be taken to the grave. The red Eve figure with prayer beads, the traveler’s triptych and the image of the “ensō” suggest that there is a part of human nature that is “human” and imperfect and even if Adam and Eve were provided with paradise in the garden of Eden, humans are still tempted to test boundaries, seek knowledge, and create for oneself, regardless of the consequences.

The work includes original photos, text, map, sculpted and assembled objects, drawing by Tanner Goldbeck and a take away copy of the Herencia Trilogy concept book with only parts of the written story and with pages and chapters purposely left blank to invite the reader to imagine the other parts of the story and incorporate their own narratives.

Click on the images below to see slides and read about it on the Getty Museum blog.

by Sandy Shimooka

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