The Fence Mechanisms, a new performance installation by EJ Hill, is the first part of a larger body of work that sources early childhood triumphs and traumas (and adult loves and losses) in an attempt to better understand the difference between self-care and self-defense. This is Hill’s second exhibition with the space.
EJ Hill is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions and performances include: Racial Imaginary, Nichols Gallery at Pitzer College, Claremont; David Bell and EJ Hill: O Captor, My Captor!, Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn; Have At It, Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles; and Signaling Through the Flames, LA><ART/Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Los Angeles. Hill received his MFA from University of California, Los Angeles and BFA from Columbia College Chicago.
The playground lacks hiding places; we are dropped off and expected to figure it out. For many of us, it is the place where we first realize we are completely on our own; both predator (bullies) and prey (anyone showing any fear) must occupy and identify this space together, forming both physical and psychological relationships amongst each other and with the grounds itself. Some will feel comfort in this environment and thrive; others will suffer and find contemplative spaces to go, or inanimate friends—a ball, a rope, a wall—a simple motion that can be repeated for the duration of the stay.
You’ll learn the way your body moves. You’ll learn people are faster than you, whether you can throw or not; you may never want to throw anything ever again. You’ll learn that people are terrible to one another, and some may want to fight you for reasons you won’t understand. We all walk off with different ideas of what it means to play.
We return to the playground as adults and see the hiding spaces that were not supposed to exist and have since lost access too. We return to the place that left us in an endless pursuit of places to hide.
—David Bell, 2014