I Hate This Place: Dynasty Handbag
In I Hate This Place, Dynasty Handbag’s video performance commissioned by The Broad, the play-acting of childhood trauma, references to American history and pop culture, and the exploration of repressed memory all parallel ideas and themes in Broad collection artist Mike Kelley’s work.
Dynasty Handbag’s unique takes on these tropes are on display in a mini dramedy of youthful diary confessions with topics including frustration with family and school, repercussions of the Vietnam War, unrequited crushes, and the fantasy escape from reality which music can provide—all while humorously commenting on the very process of creating art. Dynasty Handbag herself says of this work: “I escaped into fantasy, making comics and dancing in my room, pretending I was attending the Fame school. Anyone who was growing up in America around the same time as me can hopefully relate and laugh at these stories too…”
The return of trauma and its effect on memory is explored in Mike Kelley’s Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions #10, 21, 24 (Gym Interior) (2004-2005), a subset of his massive installation, Day is Done. This work both mines and reinvents the past by using images from high school yearbooks as a starting point to re-stage teenage rituals but with surreal elements taken from childhood memories, pulp magazines, psychoanalysis, and myriad other sources. As Kelley states: “Terms are confused and divisions between categories start to slip. And that produces what I think is a sublime effect, or it produces humor, and both things interest me.”