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September UBS 12 x 12 Presents Von Kommanivanh First Fridays

CHICAGO, IL.-Connections to the often obsessive, materialistic, and violent realities of human nature are created through large-scale sculptural installations in the September UBS 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work exhibit. Artist Von Kommanivanh uses found objects such as suitcases, boots, fencing, and stuffed animals, along with graffiti-inspired paintings, to create a salvaged path to human understanding. The exhibit opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, during First Fridays on September 5 and runs through September 28, 2008.

Influenced by his background in Laos where he was born in a refugee camp, Kommanivanh uses humor to address oppressive social and political conditions that incorporate his own personal history. Three paintings: Stacked Dwarfs, Ketchup – Ketchup – Ketchup, and Nuc.Off, feature images of animals, some vaguely recognizable as pop-culture relics such as Mr. Peanut and Daffy Duck, and humans in a state of conflict. Milky Way is a large installation of a staircase constructed of many found objects that leads up to a painting with Kommanivanh’s poetry scrolled on the wall with the verse, “I feel as if I was inhuman. When I scream out for help, only the stars hear me.” Kommanivanh’s installations offer a view of repression in contemporary society. Rather than trying to change the world, he would like the viewer to recognize how progress often brings with it unpleasant and overlooked realities.

Von Kommanivanh currently lives and works in Chicago. He has also worked as a tattoo and graffiti artist. An artist led gallery talk provides insight on the exhibit on Tuesday, September 23, at 6:30 pm.

September’s First Fridays theme is “Celebration” in honor of one of Jeff Koons’ most popular series. Guests may make party favors at the Creation Station, receive 2-minute makeup touchups courtesy of Estee Lauder, visit the iMac G5 Digital Dating Bar, and move to music from DJ Megan Taylor. Specialty drinks of the night are the “Koons Cosmo” and the “Rabbit-tini.”

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