Locating Harsh Patel can be a challenging endeavor. Born in Nairobi, Kenya and raised in Texas, Patel, currently living in a nondescript neighborhood of west Los Angeles, is connected to a number of global communities at varying degrees through his deep interests in music, design and communities. Considering these interests, or rather, near obsessions we might begin to unravel the dialectic ensemble which comprises Patel’s sparse and concise exhibition “Beauty: A Picture To Look At, A Song To Listen To”.
Wading through the combination of type face and band worship referent, we can attempt to locate Patel somewhere amidst the constructed artifacts: fanzine like ephemera, matted record labels, and also the recurring union jack flag and Toblerone icons which appear in earlier works. The visual language constructed by this collection of bold, red, blue, black, re-presented type and iconography, at first pass, reads as cryptic map, or rather field guide to Harsh Patel, a mysterious figure in his own right, appearing at the occasional opening, or friendly gathering, dressed in black, sporting a west side suede fan club tote bag.
Harsh is everywhere. Though seldom seen, his presence is noted both online and in-real-life communities, invested in the gathering and dissemination of information often pertaining to music, icons and re examining that which has become obscured, or altered by time. Patel’s project has much to do with history.
His product serves as document of his own various histories, personally lived and the on going manifestation and fetishization of his acute interests; the lives of others, the life of a record label or band, and the life of an image.
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-Contributed by Alberto Cuadros