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SOCIAL CLIMES

Deconstructing Val: set pieces

August 31, 2003|Mark Ehrman | Special to The Times

A crowd of hundreds gathers at Bergamot Station to see what is either an avant-garde approach to movie still photography or an indie-film version of clever promo. To wit, Val Kilmer -- star of the coming biopic "Wonderland," about the life, career and death of accidental porn star John Holmes -- in "collaboration" with photographer Ali Alborzi, creates a series of collages using photographs taken on the set during the filming. The pair host an opening at Off Main gallery, where the works will be on display for a week, after which the exhibition will travel to London, Paris and Moscow.

"What you see in the photographs is a definitive moment of the character," says the bearded Kilmer, decked out in black on black. The Aug. 24 reception, he adds, "is kind of an elaborate thank-you note" to the cast and crew for putting up with the extra-artistic intrusion.

Alborzi, camera in hand, would shadow the actors and crew and capture images that would then be scribbled over, repeated in, say, a cross shape, juxtaposed with clippings and found objects, or undergo myriad other transformations allowed by this free-flowing aesthetic enterprise. Call it "Being John Holmes." Or "Deconstructing Val." Or simply "an explosion of spontaneity," as Alborzi describes the results.

Supermodel Angela Lindvall, wearing a specially designed collage dress, agrees. "Of course I love collage," she adds. "That's why I named my foundation Collage." The nonprofit organization, which uses interactive media to stimulate youth interest in a variety of social issues, will receive a portion of the evening's proceeds.

The synergy, like the imagery, can be dizzying.

Also attending the opening are director Phillip Noyce, a few models and rockers, and some of Kilmer's previous co-stars, including Neve Campbell (the coming "Blind Horizon") and Deborah Kara Unger ("Salton Sea"). "I love it," Unger enthuses. "It's personal. It's disturbing. And I'm sad that two of the pieces that I want are already sold."

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