September 23–October 29, 2011
Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers are delighted to present in Berlin, with the solo exhibition Double Feature, a new work series by John Baldessari.
Ever since the middle of the 1960s, the works of American artist John Baldessari have developed into one of the most pioneering oeuvres of contemporary art. They serve as an important model for a young generation of artists and curators. His photo-collages, billboards, artist’s books, performances, and films are to be assigned exclusively neither to Concept Art nor to Pop Art, but instead have always remained independent through their autonomy and unpredictability.
Baldessari’s medium is above all the collage, and accordingly the combination of images and contents which traditionally do not belong together. Using as a basis his own archive of film stills, texts, photographs, and newspaper clippings – all of which relate to motifs from everyday reality, the mass media, advertisement, and film – Baldessari arranges montages of images and of image-texts which create new interconnections of meaning through the procedures of fading out and cross-fading or cutting out. By means of productive gaps between image and word, he focuses on the relationship between language and power, just as has been examined since the 1960s by the post-structuralists Roland Barthes and Gilles Deleuze. Thereby of major importance for Baldessari is the issue of emotionality: Visual jokes and plays on words are the means by which he disrupts the strict classification of sense and nonsense and sets in motion processes of critical thought with regard to society.