Tobias Kaspar

The Bling Ring

April 26 - May 25, 2013

“Why work for the bling, when you can just take it?”, asks journalist Tricia Romano in an article describing

a group of fame-obsessed teenagers who met at Indian Hills High School in Los Angeles. In 2009, The

Bling Ring (L.A. Times) used the Internet to track A-list Hollywood celebritiesʼ whereabouts and rob their

homes while they were away. Victims included stars Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan, Ashley

Tisdale, Rachel Bilson, Brian Austin Green, Megan Fox, and Audrina Patridge.

The group called their hits “going shopping” and selected the targets based on their fashion choices. The

accused are only a few years apart in age from their victims. They frequented the same clubs and tried to

blend in with Young Hollywood at chic places like Les Deux nightclub and Miyagiʼs bar on Sunset

Boulevard, wearing the same types of designer clothes. The resemblance of one of the burglars to

Lindsay Lohan was so striking that some bloggers speculated that Lohan had actually robbed her own

house when the video of the security camera became public. Pairing Internet savvy with celebrity

obsession, they tracked TMZ and other blogs for tips on when their alleged targets would be out partying.

The group compiled an extensive database of mansions found by trolling various websites including

celebrityaddressaerial.com. It seems only fitting, then, that the police also used Internet technology to turn

the tables on the suspects. Investigators used Facebook and Myspace to determine that the suspects

were friends.

Sofia Coppola recently adapted the story for The Bling Ring (2013), which is rumored to premiere at this

yearʼs film festival in Cannes, mixing fictional elements with the actual occurrences. At the same time

journalist Nancy Jo Sales will publish her book on the story. Sales was one of the first to pick up the story

when she interviewed members of The Bling Ring for Vanity Fair magazine.

In the exhibition Tobias Kaspar will be showing a series of photographs touching on the theme of The

Bling Ring. Kaspar created the photographs during a recent residency in Los Angeles. Among them is a

photograph of a café table with its usual generic devices, including a tablet computer showing photos of

actress Emma Watson on the set of The Bling Ring (2013), another photograph shows an assemblage of

newspaper, photo and smartphone, on its screen a photo of a woman holding a Hermès Birkin Bag (See

invitation card, silver gelatin print, 2013, Ed. of 3). Apart from the photographs, Tobias Kaspar will be

showing an artwork in form of a book, conceived in collaboration with Egija Inzule, including further

material on the topic of The Bling Ring and with contributions by Mikael D. Brkic and Mathew Sova, Alex

Gartenfeld, as well as Bruce Hainley and Hannes Loichinger. Wigger Bierma designed the book.

Tobias Kaspar (*1984, Basel) studied at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg and at Städelschule

in Frankfurt. His work has been amongst others on view at Kunsthaus Bregenz; Hamburger Bahnhof,

Berlin; Kunsthalle Basel; Artistʼs Space, New York; Palais du Tokyo, Paris. The Midway Contemporary in

Minneapolis will open a solo show in Fall 2013. For his single exhibition “Bodies in the Backdrop” in Halle

für Kunst Lüneburg, Germany, Verlag Walther König published a catalog in 2012 which can be obtained

over the gallery.