Sunday, November 8, 2009

John Baldessari

John Baldessari

Work from his new book, Pure Beauty.

"The combination of film, photography and painting has become one of the key elements in Baldessari’s art. Beginning with his early photo-and-text works from the late 1960s, the exhibition includes his extensive use of found film imagery in the combined photographs of the 1980s, the irregular-shaped and over-painted works of the 1990s, as well as video, and concludes with his most recent works to date.

In the 1960s he notably painted statements derived from contemporary art theory and instructional manuals onto canvas. These early major works from Everything Is Purged …1966-68 to Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell 1966-68 will be included in the show. From the 1970s he marries his humorous pursuit of a new visual language to film. I Will Not Make Anymore Boring Art 1971 sees Baldessari record himself on videotape repeatedly writing the lines over and over again in a notebook for the duration of the tape. This period also begins his experimentation with collage using film stills and his own photos to conceive a series of aligned images. In the Blasted Allegories series from 1978, Baldessari explores the language of associated images by assembling a literal dictionary of photographs randomly sampled from commercial television.

The exhibition will examine the increasingly elaborate formal structures which Baldessari introduced into his work in later years and which have become a key component to his art. Abandoning the standard rectangular canvas or photographic format, he has produced a series of works combining numerous images to create various unconventional formats. Bloody Sundae 1987, for instance, forms an inverted T shape on the wall. On top, two men attack a third beside a stack of paintings; on the bottom, a couple lounges on a bed, a breakfast tray between them, all five faces obliterated by Baldessari’s signature circles of colour, increasing the unease." - Tate Modern

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