While the future of Richard Neutra’s world-famous Lovell Health House remains uncertain, as its current owner is seeking a preservation-minded buyer, new life has been breathed into the Los Angeles home as it temporarily takes on a new function. Belgium-born, Uruguay-based artist Eva Claessens has taken over the home’s main living and outdoor spaces for a three-day pop-up exhibition of her paintings and prints that runs from February 23 through February 25.
The event marks Claessens’ U.S. debut, as well as the home’s first time hosting an art exhibition. When seeing the work hung up casually throughout the structure’s interiors and its grounds, however, one might assume the space had always intended to display large-scale artwork. The home has the air of a lived-in gallery thanks to the crisp white walls and wide-open spaces, originally designed for individual and group exercises led by naturopathic doctor Philip Lovell.
“A white gallery did not feel like the right place for me to show my work,” said Claessens in a press statement. “I wanted to find a place that reflected my aesthetic and the way I live. I live my life very much the same way as Dr. Lovell did, and my work reflects this.” The artist’s minimal yet gestural brushwork and interpersonal subject matter can also be compared to Neutra’s sketches, which often used as few lines of charcoal as possible to render entire scenes and the lives within them.
The Lovell House’s current state of cosmetic disrepair fueled the artist’s creativity while curating her exhibition. “I see houses as living artwork and love restoring old houses,” she continued. “The more ruin they [are] in, the more my imagination [can] run free.” That is why Claessens is collaborating with photographer Yoshihiro Makino and filmmaker Romain Dussaulx to document the three-day exhibition as a short film to be screened at the LA Design Festival later this year. “This project,” said Claessens, “is a marriage of four artists; Neutra’s architecture and my work with Yoshi’s photography and Romain’s storytelling.”