PREVIEW & INTERVIEW: Check In to the Paper-Thin Hotel by Dosshaus at Corey Helford Gallery with the Opening Reception on April 7th

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Zoey Taylor and David Connelly, the creative collaborators known as Dosshaus, have been building their grayscale cardboard world of immersive installations, sculptures, cardboard fashion — and even a “record” — since 2012. Combining a quirky flair for detail and attitude, with a tireless pace of working and an exceptionally photogenic style, Dosshaus has captured the imagination of the art world. Combining homages to both German Expressionism, early animation and the cinema of the European fin-de-siecle avant-garde, Dosshaus may seem like a playdate, but in truth, they are up to some serious art history remixing. Their most ambitious project yet, Paper-Thin Hotel opens at Corey Helford Gallery on April 7, and Cartwheel Art has the scoop with an early check-in peek.

A holistic appearance permeates the atmospheres in their installations, which despite the surrealism creates the sense of a complete place, a low-key parallel universe with a soulful gestalt. A total internal logic where it all makes sense, like a dream. The engagement is captivating, as you notice your eyes and brain adjust and capitulate to this new version of the world.

“The intent is to disrupt the sense of reality by making the viewer feel they have stepped into an illustration,”

says Zoey. And to that end, it’s never just a room of stuff, even though that would still be pretty cool. But no, Dosshaus likes to tell stories. Locally in recent years, a music and art salon filled a booth at the LA Art Show, a dinner party, a record shop, and more all unfolded at Gregorio Escalante Gallery, a piano exploded at the MARS music festival… and now, the Paper-Thin Hotel opens in the Arts District.

“We’re turning the gallery into a flophouse hotel,”

they say,

“complete with lobby, bar, and three lived-in guest rooms that viewers can walk through. Every piece within the installation, from the beds to the elevator doors to the room keys and light switches and everything in between, are individual cardboard sculptures painted in grayscale with our hand-drawn, sketchy style.”

And in the end, it’s precisely the thorough proliferation of details they achieve that really blows your mind. Every single little thing, from crushed beer cans to a suitcase full of cash, a bag of chips, a box of chocolates, a dart board, electric guitar, leather jacket, sink and toilet, pill bottles, pop gun, porn magazines, phone books, brokedown furniture, shot-out tv set, a cigar box full of heroin gear, playing cards, ashtrays, a wallet full of cash and credit cards, alarm clocks, frozen dinners, and of course, Bibles — all executed with a perfect instinct for humor and proportion, stylistic mimicry, and human behavior.

They’ve been working on the individual sculptures for over a year. And at 2000 sq. feet, it is by far the largest single environment they’ve yet created! The good news is that each piece within the Paper-Thin Hotel is an individual sculpture for sale. Additionally, there will be several new clothing pieces with outfits representing each of the inhabitants of the hotel environment. Dressed in these, throughout the run of the show, they’ll be returning to the gallery throughout the run of the exhibition, performing as inhabitants of the hotel; and you can get a sense of these performative moments in examples of the jaunty original photography they produce themselves, shown interacting within their built worlds, in domestic and public scenes. In early Paper-Thin Hotel images, Zoey stands in the corner, lost in thought, the phone left off the hook on the bed, a beer in her hand; something at least concerning but possibly terrible has happened, or is about to happen. Next door, David has been inspired to shoot out the television screen from his armchair. This part of their practice has got an early Cindy Sherman film stills thing going on, especially as the photographs read like black and white when actually it’s color-film pictures of a grayscale world.

Reached in their studio prepping for installation, Dosshaus offered this sneak peek detail to Cartwheel readers, a sweet way into decoding the contents of their universe.

“There is a running theme of the number 11 throughout many of the works within the show,”

says Zoey.

“The number 11 has a particular significance for the two of us as Dosshaus (because 1 + 1 = 2, and 11 is indivisible by any other number). The number shows up in obvious places (the clock sculptures all feature the number as the hour), and harder to spot places (we made 11 individual room key sculptures, there are 11 links on the chandelier chain).”

That said, the works are so much more than autobiographical.

“Cumulatively (and individually in many of the sculptures) the show centers on themes of America and Americana,”

they say.

“Each of these rooms is separated by a thin, cardboard-covered wall. They are the literal representation of a flophouse hotel’s “paper-thin” walls, with no illusion of privacy, serving as our metaphor for a modern world in which privacy has been discarded as easily as a cardboard box. Additionally, with the myriad cardboard variations on artifacts that once served as the foundation of American culture, one can’t help but wonder if the real things are anything more than a paper-thin illusion.”

“Paper-Thin Hotel” by Dosshaus
April 7 – May 5

Opening Reception:
Saturday, April 7th
7 pm – 11 pm

Corey Helford Gallery
571 S Anderson St (Enter on Willow St)
Los Angeles, CA 90033
(310) 287-2340
HOURS: Tuesday-Saturday: noon to 6 pm

Dosshaus Social Media:

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