Paris Photo LA 2015: Mazaccio & Drowilal

Colorful work that hides a darkness behind humor, the French duo's exhibit at the California event

by The World’s Best Ever

For the third installment of Paris Photo LA (PPLA) at the Paramount Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, BMW—one of the photography fair’s official partners—is presenting “Wild Style,” an installation featuring a body of work created by the French artistic duo Mazaccio & Drowilal during their 2013 BMW-funded residency at the musée Nicéphore Niepce, as well as a new series “Antépisode” made by the artists during a stay in California.


Dominating the entrance at PPLA’s Stage 14, Mazaccio & Drowilal’s work is saturated in the culture of now. Appropriating the mashed-up visual language of the internet and combining their own original photography, Mazaccio & Drowilal’s images evoke the feeling of real-life Tumblr. These are compositions that have as much a place on a cluttered desktop overrun with JPEGs as they do on a gallery wall. For “Wild Style,” the pair explore the representation and commodification of animals in contemporary culture. From lawn flamingoes to wolf T-shirts to stuffed tigers and animal print fabric, Mazaccio & Drowilal’s images juxtapose the idea of living creatures with their manmade counterparts. Like a pig selling bacon, it’s as if mankind’s conservation efforts are reduced to marketing concepts presented in preparation of inevitable animal extinction. Buy a keychain to save the rhino, and remember that this once existed. While it’s tough to see the darkness in their colorful work, it’s there—masked in humor.


For “Antépisode,” Mazaccio & Drowilal display portrait-style pictures and subsequently reduce them to emoji. This reduction is next-level handholding for the novice viewer, and while the intent of the series is to explore “the roots of IT and digital companies in Silicon Valley, California” through physical spaces, that concept is generally lost. What we are left with is a range of work embodying bits of California; palm trees, watermelons and strawberries, kitesurfing, and balance balls—which yes, were ushered into the office space by web developers and those looking for a healthier seating option in front of a computer.


Paris Photo LA is on now through 3 May 2015 at LA’s Paramount Pictures Studios.

Images by The World’s Best Ever