Images courtousy of Recology AIR
Written by Weston Teruya
In intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally, Leonard Reidelbach presents an immersive installation, loosely resembling the setting of an intimate function, a party-themed multiverse that highlights interconnectivity, potentiality, and moments of transformation. At the center of the space lives a six-foot mirror ball globe, cleaved in half by the bulldozers of the dump. The cross-section reveals a pale blue Styrofoam core that Reidelbach carved out to hold a new constellation of found objects–worlds within worlds. Motifs inside the globe are carried through the space in sculptural prints, found lighting, and atmospheric music. Images of the star flecked expanse of the universe, pulled from an astronomy book to create a backdrop, continues this sense of nested celestial spheres; an almost vertiginous reminder of the complexities we contain within us and the infinite possibilities that surround us.
During the residency process, Reidelbach prioritized an openness to whatever materials he was drawn to in the public reuse and recycling area–a kind of cruising. This way of looking lends itself to the potential for a collaboration with what he describes as “the oracle of chance through a personal affinity with a stranger (or their object).” In the exhibition, Reidelbach swirls together recurring printed patterns and the original objects used to generate the abstract screen prints, including carpet underlayment, mesh mats, and handmade knit lace. The side-by-side evidence of this transmutation from material to print invites us to consider the poetry in these variations.
Throughout his broader practice, Reidelbach often draws together chosen communities to shape extravagant and mutually supportive social spaces built from a collaborative imaginary. That desire for connection carries into this exhibition through his collaborative dialogue with the materials he encountered. The inclusion of objects that carry an implied-but-hidden personal stories like hand-knitted lace or a curated collection of old CDs, brings you into universes of things grounded in peoples’ lives and histories. Discarded worlds are born again, if only for the lifetime of the party.
excerpts of my diary included with the show's inventory
After my first day:
The tractor pushing a mattress is how they clean up- it whirls around the
cavern of the dump, mopping the concrete’s sludge. Trucks and vans zip
haphazardly in and around to unload anything. The mattress mop glides into
a corner I’ve been eyeing: screens and window panes thrown however they
land. The force crunches the frames and shatters the glass- casually
shoving it all back- it’s big and loud and fast. The way it happens- this
huge pile of material is almost just a paper crumpled in my hand- the ease
of it, a wave crashing and swelling back again.
My body is small there- in the way that my body is small by the ocean at
Messages from the trash
In the first week of my time at the dump, I came up on this truck
unloading a selection of items I will probably still be processing after
my residency is over. It all came from a home or a nursery of a woman with
an apparent shopping problem. I frantically scooped up unboxed and
like-new items: a wall mirror with antelope antlers, unboxed planter from
Pier 1 imports pretending to be maybe Central American, nice leather
couch, bags of clothes including shirts with $200 price tags still
attached, eight unopened shipping boxes, a like-new Christian Pellizzari
dress, cricut cutting machine, a multi-colored wool pom pom rug, bags of
baby clothes and cloth diapers, a canvas apron, yellow taper candles. From
the collection of items, it feels equally likely that this woman moved and
didn’t want to bring her things or that she passed away. Her aesthetic
doesn’t align with mine and I feel resentful of the money she wasted by
tossing these unused items.
In my studio, I investigate the unopened shipping packages. A plant stand,
lighting fixture, decorative plates, and an acrylic wall hanging.
Inspirational text in curly font with whimsical watercolor illustration of
green plant surrounding. It reads:
“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things
break. All things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but
with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly,
unconditionally. The broken world waits in the darkness for the
light that is you.” L. R. Knost
This object is listed on Amazon as “Farmhouse Decor for Women,Lr Knost
Quote,Inspirational Wall Art,Motivational Poster,Social Worker
Gift,Therapist Office Decor,Positive Quote,School Counselor,16x24 Inch
Wall Art” and retails for $43.98. I am the first consumer to view this
A few days later, I come across a dump of which from the items, I think is
either a move out or an eviction of a single man in his twenties.
Alongside a garfield alarm clock and plastic shelving unit, I find a small
risograph print protected in plastic film. An image of a crumpled piece of
paper (implied to be trash) printed in monochrome red with black text over
it that reads, “BE NOT DISCOURAGED.”
The following week, I come in during a slow day. Before heading to the
dump, I sit in my studio scrolling instagram, wishing I was in New
Orleans. It’s Mardi Gras today and friends are turning looks, having fun.
I vow to go next year. When I get to the dump, I spend a while finding
nothing; everything feels more than ever like actual trash. A bulldozer
had just cleared a giant area and then I see something big. Half of a
six-foot blue and green disco ball. It’s broken cleanly down the middle
and the shapes of the green make up the continents of Africa, into Europe,
to the edge of Asia. The blue ocean bears a scar from where the bulldozer
grabbed it, exposing a blue styrofoam and aluminum core. It's huge and I
almost don’t want it- I ask Rania if she’ll take it. She declines and
helps me load it onto a cart for myself.
The half-globe has been sitting outside of my studio, sitting mirror-side
up on a dolly since. A kind of festive float, catching the sunlight and
sending it back out. My sketchbook is accumulating drawings of how I might
mend the brokenness of the world. The message is clear that I need to love
intentionally, extravagantly, and unconditionally. That the globe waited
in the darkness for the light that is me.
Do you believe that building meaning from random chance can be a conduit
to some sort of greater consciousness? Tarot uses that principle to
deliver guidance, and other oracles can be traced over cultures and time.
I almost feel goofy to find an oracle in the trash- I’m not convinced I
was looking for one. Maybe it would be more exact that it’s a conduit of
my own manifestation in collaboration with undesired San Francisco. If
there’s a difference.
I practiced this idea of manifestation the next day. I go in looking for
something to go with my disco ball. I find a halloween wig and a pair of
blue disco ball earrings. True, but I think I set my search to be both too
broad and too narrow at the same time. BE NOT DISCOURAGED. Perhaps once I
set a pathway for how I mend and light my world, the trash will provide.