Projecting Past, Present & Future on Sunset Blvd Motel

Sunset Pacific Motel

In Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, the character of Norma Desmond (played by actress Gloria Swanson) sits anchored in her decaying mansion, forever trapped in the silent film era of her prime, while Hollywood rapidly advances in spite of her. So sits the long abandoned Sunset Pacific Motel, one of the last crumbling relics on Sunset Boulevard, like an architectural Norma Desmond. Its unsettling appearance and cross street granted it the nickname of the “Bates Motel,” a rather unsubtle reference to Hitchcock’s Psycho.

The French artist Vincent Lamouroux has granted a new life, or rather an afterlife, to the motel as part of his installation “Projection.” By veiling the historic eyesore entirely in a white limewash, Lamouroux extracts the memories and ghosts of its long heyday, so that contemporary Angelenos can project their own images of what once may have been, what will shortly cease to be and the potential for the future.

“On Sunset Boulevard and Bates Avenue, a transitioning facade, an abandoned motel as a commonplace, archetype of the constant mobility of contemporary society. A white coat now adorns the architecture. The limewash thoroughly covers the building and the adjacent billboard, as well as the palm trees that surround it,” Lamouroux said. “The urban space is disrupted. An abandoned space is transfigured and enhanced, perhaps eluding its last glory. The motel’s intriguing aspect is accommodating an imaginary drive away from our habitual quest for sameness. Projection induces both an appearance and a disappearance; it revisits our existing landscape with new eyes and envisions the building’s surfaces as screens for the projection of our desires.”

Lamouroux’s installation exists for a short time only: April 26, 2015 through May 10, 2015. So, like Norma Desmond, the Sunset Pacific Motel will soon meet its imminent demise and live on only in photos and memories. The firm of Frost Chaddock Developers owns the motel, and plans to demolish the relic in lieu of a contemporary mixed use building that will compliment Silver Lake’s evolution.

“Los Angeles has become a center for contemporary art and culture, and Silver Lake, home to a growing and active creative community, is an important part of that transformation,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This work by Vincent Lamouroux at the Sunset Pacific Motel property is a timely and symbolic gesture to our rich artistic and cultural landscape.”

Projection is produced by Please Do Not Enter. For more information, visit Sunset Pacific Motel: 4301 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90029.

For more photos, click here Projection L.A. Viewing Party.

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