New John Baldessari Exhibition For Berlin
For over 4 decades John Baldessari has remained one of the leading international artists. His work crosses several mediums from painting, sculpture to video. His fascination with B-movies and nouvelle vague films is one of the constants running through Baldessari's oeuvre; he has taken their gestures, drama, and glamorous passion into a large number of compositions utilizing stills from unknown Hollywood motion pictures. Serving as an important source of inspiration in this context is Jean-Luc Godard's experimental handling of cinematic montage, which makes use of such
techniques as leaps in time or space between individual film segments (jump cuts) and, by means of these
distancing and distorting effects, destroy the film's power of illusion.
In Baldessari's new collages, the verbal combinations contrast with the motifs and summon up complex series of associations, inasmuch as two different areas are brought together: the works of avant-garde artists which today are considered to be high culture, and the American crime thrillers of the postwar era which are relegated to the status of B-movies. He thereby establishes subtle formal and contextual relationships between titles and pictures. The series gives rise to pictorial puzzles in which the extracted individual segments become something entirely different when inserted into a new picture. In this way the artist aims at cultural memory and engages in a play involving recognition of the contexts from which the elements derive. For Baldessari, images and words are of equal value, and with them he creates his own poetry whose language asserts itself over and beyond social value-systems and linguistic limitations.
John Baldessari (born 1931 in National City, California) lives and works in Santa Monica, California. His works
were part of the 47th (197) and 53rd (2009) Venice Biennials, the Carnegie International (1985-86), the
Whitney Biennial (1983), as well as the Documenta V (1972) and VII (1982). In 2005, an extensive, two-part
retrospective was dedicated to the artist at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien and at the
Kunsthaus Graz. In June 2009, John Baldessari was awarded the Golden Lion at the 53rd Venice Biennial for
his life work. During the same year, there opened at the Tate Modern in London (2009) his large retrospective
Pure Beauty, which subsequently could be seen at the MACBA, Barcelona (2010), the LACMA, Los Angeles
(2010), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2010/2011). Recently the artist has presented his
works in solo exhibitions at the Fondazione Prada (2010) and at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2011).
Simultaneously with this exhibition, Sprüth Magers Berlin is featuring the solo exhibition mk/ULTRA by
Thomas Scheibitz. John Baldessari
Double Feature Sprüth Magers Berlin 23 September - 29 October 2011