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ILY2 is excited to present Amanda Ross-Ho at the 2024 edition of the BARELY FAIR. The invitational fair, operated by Julius Caesar, presents a tiny peek inside the programming of thirty contemporary art galleries, project spaces, and curatorial projects during “Art Week” in Chicago. ILY2 will exhibit work by Ross-Ho in a 1:12 scale booth, built to mimic the design of a standard art fair. Amanda Ross-Ho’s contribution to BARELY FAIR acknowledges her deep ties to Chicago as her hometown and the primal scene of her artistic development, specifically as related to scale.

BARELY FAIR will open with a vernissage on April 12th, 2024 from 6:00-10:00pm at Chicago’s Color Club. The fair will run with daily hours through the weekend*, and be open for gallery hours and by appointment through April 21st.

LEAVE ME ALONE (XXXXXS), 2024 is a mini-monument to an upscaled artwork originally made by Amanda Ross-Ho in Chicago in 1998. The very first work in her practice to utilize scale shifting, Ross-Ho’s LEAVE ME ALONE, 1998 appropriated the iconic oversized message T-shirts of British designer Katharine Hamnett, which rose to popularity in the early 80’s. Hamnett’s shirts harnessed the space of the T-shirt as an arena for confrontational public address—populating them with political slogans, mini manifestos, and bombastic declarations of worldview. The 'oversized' cut of the shirt was fashionable for its hyperbolic swagger, but also served a crucial function, providing ample real estate for high visibility text and transforming the body into a walking billboard. This scale shift increased the literal size but more importantly amplified the ‘volume’ of any given message.

At first intended as a wry and intentional doubling down on Hamnet’s own pointed use of scale, LEAVE ME ALONE, 1998 was a T-shirt scaled up to approximately seven feet tall. Supersizing an already oversized object performed a materialist redundancy, as well as further amplified the aggressive sentiment from a shout into a full-blown scream. LEAVE ME ALONE is a phrase fraught with complex intentions. Is it a sincere anti-social demand, an act of narcissistic reverse psychology, or evidence of existing alienation? Either way, the monumental insistence of the object further corrupted easy legibility and meaning, making it impossible to ignore. LEAVE ME ALONE, 1998 also aimed to trouble subject/object dynamics and positionality. The subject of “ME” is predicated by the presence of “YOU”, a witness, a viewer, a social contingency. And yet the lack of a body—a ME, as it were-- offers a type of bereavement and abandonment of another kind—absence of the subject itself. In the end, YOU are the one left alone.

Ross-Ho produced three additional iterations of the LEAVE ME ALONE shirt between 1998 and 2014, with countless references to it appearing as motifs in other works across her practice.

Directly engaging with the downsized 1/12 conditions of Barely Fair, Ross-Ho presents an acute retrospective compressed into a singular work. Presented in total solitude within the booth, LEAVE ME ALONE (XXXXXS), 2024 literally fulfills its own demand, and in the process, alters conditions beyond the sculpture itself. The downshift in scale diagrams the operation of historical distance, like an heirloom shrinking backwards into a rear-view mirror. The inversion the once monumental into miniature reconfigures the economies and conventional stakes of memorial gestures. Form is tracked through time, translation, and a sliding scale: from cultural artifact to large-scale sculpture, through iterations, and back again to small-scale monument, the empty container of the T-shirt is no longer tethered to a stable bodily referent. Slipping between the intimate, the dominating, and the speculative, it bears the psychic wear and tear of time travel.

The consolidation of these quantum, material, and translational leaps into a singular material vessel is a fitting container to hold the central urgencies in Ross-Ho’s artistic practice--then and now, big and small.

Amanda Ross-Ho is an only child who was born and raised in Chicago and lives and works in Los Angeles. Ross-Ho’s work is a form of experimental archival research. She closely analyzes, disarticulates, and exaggerates artifacts into poetic forms, driven by conflicting impulses towards sentimentality and clinical objectivity. Her work aims to monumentalize the transitory and often corrupted relationships between time, form, witness, and memory. For over a quarter of a century, Ross-Ho has investigated dynamics of scale in her work, utilizing upscaling as a tactic to foster close intimacy with form and transpose the manipulative and documentary capacities of photography onto objecthood.

In conjunction with our booth at BARELY FAIR, ILY2 is thrilled to release a limited edition of 8 wearable LEAVE ME ALONE t-shirts by Amanda Ross-Ho.