Lather Rinse Repeat

Lather Rinse Repeat
2005 by RLW
Found 05/2011, Goodwill (2222 and Lamar)

A paean to banality and a journey into the surreal, RLW’s Lather Rinse Repeat is the Cerberus at the gates of our High School art gallery, inviting visitors to find the strange, dark, and sublime in their life experience—assuming that life experience is seven years or so.

Consumerism and drifting bubbles evoke the commercial art of 1950s America, where branding was a new and enthusiastic science. Yet RLW takes us a step beyond the ordinary: bubbles drift up away from gravity, rising from a roiling or rocky surface rather than splashing from the ceiling. The viscous shampoo traces a complex knot, far more energetic than hair product normally would be. Strangest of all, the dark red bottle, labelled only “SHAMPOO” (or possibly “Man Shampoo,” if the decorative zigzag line on the bottle is read as text.) The bottle is the color of dried and fresh blood and leather, and the two asterisks in its design more resemble crude stitchwork. What does this strangely biological bottle say about consumer culture? Are the bubbles looking at us?

Everyone who has read the instructions on a bottle of shampoo has laughed at the self-serving directive to finish the bottle, lathering and repeating until the bottle is empty and lies in foam at one’s feet. Lather Rinse Repeat shows how strange and against fundamental human experience the bottle’s missive truly is.

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