Mutant Salon’s art installation at Commonwealth & Council is a hot mess — in a good way. Set up as a grotesque beauty salon, it includes stations for haircutting, makeup, nail art and tattooing.
The stations are augmented with seating, mirrors, brushes and other tools embedded in fleshy, alien, tumorous forms. Many of the tools also make magical sound effects when you wave them around. It’s like grooming yourself in a demented cartoon, both entrancing and nightmarish.
The core members of Mutant Salon are Young Joon Kwak, Marvin Astorga and Alli Miller, but the project includes a large cast of collaborators who appear in two videos. The first documents a ritualistic group performance involving dancing and body painting; the footage has been processed so it’s often hard to tell where one body ends and the next begins.
This is the dark side of beauty, which is really just the dressing up of the messiness of sex. By bringing it back to this chaos, unmoored from convention, Mutant Salon transforms what it means to be beautiful.
Commonwealth & Council, 3006 W. 7th St., Suite 220, Los Angeles, (213) 703-9077, through Feb. 27. Closed Sundays through Tuesdays. www.commonwealthandcouncil.com