an exhibition by Kim Llerena + Nancy Daly
May 2nd, 2019- May 24th, 2019
Our latest series (and first collaboration together) reveals an affinity for the kitsch that comes along with
exploring roadside America. Collected on numerous cross-country road trips, through a cumulative total
of 47 states, our souvenirs from various sites are presented against brightly colored backdrops.
Travel often begins with lofty, idealized preconceptions about a place; once visited, the location becomes attainable and the memory becomes personal, a phenomenon made physical in the mass-produced knick-knacks we bring home. These artifacts, with origins in distinct and distant locations, now live together on a shelf, comprising an oddball portrait of “America”.
Souvenirs present a strange dichotomy – they are inherently and inextricably linked to a place, but their value relies on them becoming divorced from that place and then re-contextualized in an entirely new one. Ultimately, the site from which the object is derived becomes secondary, an abstract backdrop that enhances or rounds out the memory.
As a means of highlighting this displacement, each souvenir is photographed against a solid-colored background that vaguely recalls its original context. A commemorative plate from the Field of Dreams movie site sits against a field of corn-yellow; a red & white mug from the Geographic Center of the U.S.A. receives its missing blue.
Employing the visual language of product photography, our large format images again re-contextualize
these takeaways and trinkets, removing them from their place on the shelf and inverting their status as
something memorial into something aspirational – oversized, self-reliant monuments of travel and
For more information about the artist, please visit their website: www.kimllerena.com