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Interested in the nature of museum practices of preservation and conservation, Gala Porras-Kim takes as a point of departure the assumptions that imbue cultural objects and artifacts with meaning and value. For this installation—an assembly of drawings, sculptures, and display mechanisms—Porras-Kim partnered with the Fowler Museum at UCLA. She worked with the Fowler’s staff to select objects within the museum’s collection that are unidentified—lacking generally understood indicators of provenance and history such as date, medium, or site of origin—and has proposed hypothetical complete forms for these fragments. Her proposals, in the form of new objects, are singular suggestions for objects whose possibilities for interpretation are infinite.

Speculating on the potential histories of these shards, pottery fragments, and pieces of material, Porras-Kim reintroduces the forms to present-day modes of representation. Their status as such is understood and processed by her as part of a contemporary logic, in which the artistic gesture of reframing and redrawing breathes new life into the potential narratives of objects that would otherwise be lost to history. Through a series of approaches that imbue materials with little to no cultural value as such with new meaning, Porras-Kim considers the limits of museological practices through the strategies of contemporary art, enabling the materials to move from their locations in drawers and vaults to a new logic of exhibition and display.

Made in L.A. 2016: Gala Porras-Kim
Videography: Heather Trawick Interview and Edit: Chisa Hughes