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Adam Pendleton's first solo United Kingdom exhibition opens at the Pace Gallery
Adam Pendleton, System of Display, E (MEMORIES/Heinz Loew, primary three-dimensional design elements, 1928), 2012. silkscreen ink on plexiglass and mirror, 9-7/8" x 9-7/8" x 3" (25.1 cm x 25.1 cm x 7.6 cm), framed© Adam Pendleton, courtesy Pace London.

LONDON.- Pace London presents I’ll Be Your, an exhibition by the American artist Adam Pendleton. This is Pendleton’s first solo U.K. exhibition, as well as his first with the gallery. I’ll Be Your is on view at 6-10 Lexington Street from 20 September through 27 October.

Moving fluidly between painting, publishing, photographic collage, video, and performance, Pendleton creates structures that engage with language on a literal and figurative level to yield new, radical meanings. Using appropriated images and text, he recontextualizes history to establish alternative interpretations of the present and a future dynamic where new historical narratives and meanings can exist. The exhibition title, an abbreviation of the Velvet Underground & Nico song “I'll Be Your Mirror,” implies an incomplete and open-ended condition of being that is unfixed and flexible.

I’ll Be Your features new work from Pendleton’s ongoing series “Black Dada Paintings” and “System of Display,” each begun in 2008, as well as related work. Continuing the artist’s Black Dada project—a long-term investigation pairing two previously unrelated ideas—the works in the exhibition expands Pendleton’s interest in how objects act as a conceptual potential for Black Dada, transforming materials from different sources into something new. The new work also underscores the formal elements of his practice, focusing on the ways in which pieces come together and apart, as well as how the viewer experiences fragments. Pendleton engages with the art-historical precedent of the monochrome, otherwise restricting his palette to black, white, silver, and grey. He also explores the works’ sculptural presence, both in the boxes of the “System of Display” series, each a few inches deep, and the “Black Dada Paintings,” which are literally printed with sculptures and text elements that activate the edges of the canvas.

The “Black Dada Paintings”—black-on-black paintings that pair cropped images of Sol LeWitt's Incomplete Open Cube sculptures with letters from the phrase “Black Dada”—test the boundaries between the materiality of sculpture and the abstraction of language. Within this context, the letters begin to function as visual elements removed from language, and the form of the sculpture dissolves. The seam in the “Black Dada” diptych bisects the usually unified monochromatic space in a performative fashion and divides the lines of the LeWitt cubes, further abstracting the forms. Paintings from the series were recently featured in the exhibition Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

For “System of Display,” a series of silkscreened mirror pieces overlaid with glass facades printed with a word that is typically abbreviated to a single letter, Pendleton selects images from a wide range of historical and contemporary books, which he photocopies and then crops to create silkscreens. The mirror incorporates the viewer into the work, inviting him or her to establish new relationships between the text and image and turning the body into a site of engagement.

I’ll Be Your also includes a new large-scale wall piece that incorporates Pendleton’s 2008 text “Black Dada,” printed on Mylar with installation images from his 2010 exhibition at The Kitchen, New York acting as a backdrop. The text—whose title is drawn from Amir Baraka’s 1964 poem “Black Dada Nihilismus”—is an assimilation of fragments from sources ranging from Hugo Ball’s 1916 Dada manifesto to Ron Sillman’s poetry to Pendleton’s own writing. In another new wall piece, a found headshot from the 1970s of the actor Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, elaborately costumed and confronting the camera, is sliced into four panels that literally deconstruct the image and, placed against a wall at an angle, border on sculptural installation. The images in Pendleton’s new work include a photograph of a three-dimensional design element taken by a Bauhaus student and a vintage installation shot of Picasso’s African-inspired paintings as displayed at the first Documenta exhibition—each an embodiment of Black Dada.

Adam Pendleton (b. 1984, Richmond, Virginia) was most recently featured in the Palais de Tokyo’s La Triennale (2012), where his video installation BAND was presented following its premiere at The Kitchen, New York (2010). He has been included in major exhibitions worldwide including Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language, MoMA, New York (2012); Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York (2010); The Generational: Younger Than Jesus, New Museum, New York (2010); Manifesta 7, Trentino-South Tyrol, Italy (2008); After 1968: Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy, High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2008); Object, The Undeniable Success of Operations, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008); Manifesto Marathon, The Serpentine Gallery, London (2008); Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2007); Performa 07, New York (2007); Talk Show, ICA, London (2007); and Double Consciousness: Black Conceptual Art Since the 1970s, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (2005). Pendleton will be featured in the upcoming exhibition Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (17 November 2012 – 13 February 2013), and has been commissioned to create a new work for Performa 13, New York. His first solo museum exhibition will be presented at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis in 2014. Pendleton lives and works in New York City and upstate New York.

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