Yogan Müller

The Arcadian Archive, Los Angeles, October 2019 - present

This body of work stems from a keen scholarly interest in the history and imagery of the American West – from the Great Surveys of the 1860s, the New Topographics and contemporary photography approaches.

Upon arrival in L.A., I immediately noticed an acute type of violence. I set out to photograph how it emanated from objects, landscapes and psyches of the people I encountered.

Biking the city’s backstreets and dark corners, it occurred to me that the orderly grid system that underlies LA’s urban sprawl hosted, quite paradoxically, an untold variety of chaotic arrangements made of cheap stucco façades, cut-off palm trees, wild street plants, trash, gate doors topped by six-digit numbers, shopping carts left behind by homeless people but also luxurious cars.

Going beyond the sleek décor that Angelenos and visitors are given, I strived to locate and photograph contemporary icons of westward expansion, in a place where it has run its course. Above all, I attempted to locate hope, meaning and beauty in what, at first glance, appeared to be the expression of despair, a sentiment that the Coronavirus crisis certainly accentuated.

Ultimately, under the bright California sunlight, the crepuscular tenor of this body of work revisits the latin memento mori “Et In Arcadia Ego”.

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