Ambar Navarro’s “Compare You to Me” @ Leiminspace

Dec 3 – 28th
Hours: 1-6 PM Monday – Saturday
Leiminspace, 443 Lei Min Way, Los Angeles, CA

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On a crisp Saturday night in December, tucked away in a cozy corner of Chinatown Plaza in Los Angeles, it wasn’t hard to miss the bright lights and gleaming front of Ambar Navarro’s “Compare You to Me”. This deliberate install to showcase site blended our consumerist expectations of retail space with the assumed functionality of the gallery experience. Given our current state of excess, access, and our ever-growing options in a fast and disposable candy-tech culture, the cornucopia of abundance is literally on display in multiples and materialism, essentially at your fingertips.

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The tiniest little iPhones, as big as a quarter. A Giant iPhone (NFS) by Esther Kim, selfie-ready. Laptops in varied dimensions come in 2 or 3D. A pink flag above the stairs: the internationally recognized Apple imprint in an unusual way, conflicts branding, promo, and apparel. Tech-spressive shirts by Ben Aqua. It’s Ambar’s dream Apple Store. But is it also a club? Pastels and neon flare… expansive white and sleek chrome… a blend of consciousness to lower defenses and welcome this brief commodified encounter Prominently positioned are recreations inspired by an image of Paris Hilton and her many iPhones. These glassy prints play off best as surrogate POS (Point-of Sale) advertising, essentially, selling the show despite being available for sale. The etched Plexi upon entering is extra memorable, from “John Appleseed” to “Dear Kate”, soaked in modern Apple Inc. history and 1700s folklore.

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Linking the already existing with the added imagined, Ambar’s “Compare You to Me” reviews the role of patronage and presentation, while conclusively transforming unsuspecting passersby into participants when compelled to ask, “Is this an Apple Store?”

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Joanna can be found at @joannaberay