Video - Water under the Bridge
Brandon Lattu uses both photography and the idea of photography to explore relationships between meaning and representation. His practice consists of disassembling and reassembling information from the visual, consumer, architectural, and urban realms. For How Many Billboards?, Lattu has chosen the automobile for his subject, both as a nod to the viewer who is quite likely navigating traffic while pondering the piece, and to allude to corporate products that dominate billboards, whetting and capitalizing on human desire. The Cadillac Fleetwood shown in Lattu’s piece, in production from 1927 to 1996, came to be associated with the pinnacle of luxury, repeatedly served as the U. S. President’s vehicle, and was the most common base model for both the limousine and the hearse. The visual presence of a former icon of affluence on a present day billboard highlights the passing of time, and positions current objects of advertising as transient and soon to be relegated to history. Today, the 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood is a classic car coveted by lowriders, a subset of California’s car culture with roots in Mexican-American East Los Angeles. The lowrider is a symbol of creative expression and pride of cultural identity and community, especially for Chicanos. In Lattu’s piece, this reference can be seen in the list of attributes that includes hydraulic hoses. Lattu’s piece is an active advertisement; this Fleetwood is actually for sale and the owner can be contacted through the phone number given on the billboard. By using the conventions of a free classified ad for a billboard ad—itself the luxury model of printed advertising—Lattu underscores the shifting value of objects of consumer desire and the transformation of the meaning of such objects.
Brandon Lattu (b. 1970)
Brandon Lattu received his MFA from University of California, Los Angeles in 1998, and lives in Los Angeles. His work utilizes photography, sculpture, and video to investigate the state of representation today in order to push beyond the conventional empiricism that pictures of the world have traditionally invoked. Lattu is Assistant Professor of Art at the University of California, Riverside. Most recently, his work has been included in Walker Evans and the Barn at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam; Tractatus Logico-Catalogicus, curated by Klaus Scherubel at the Vox Centre de L’image Contemporaine, Montreal; and The Movement of Images at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Lattu was the subject of a survey exhibition held at the Bielefelder Kunstverein in 2007, which was accompanied by an artist’s book titled Office Gray Case. Upcoming solo exhibitions are scheduled at Leo Koenig Inc., New York and Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver.