The first exhibition of John Baldessaris work in Russia, 1+1=1, presents the artists most recent completed series of paintings that offer a playful double take on the canon of art history and continue his longstanding investigation into the tensions between text and image in art. Produced in 2011 and 2012, the works were created in four interconnected partsDouble Vision, Double Feature, Double Bill (Part 1 and 2) and Double Play. The exhibition at Garage
is the first time a selection from all the Double series are seen together.
I think the idea of doubling for me issues from asking whether two things that look alike are really the same or if theyre different. Its a mindset; some people think that one thing looks like another and others dont. I like that sort of conflict. I play with it a lot. --- John Baldessari, July 2013
Working from traditional art history textbooks, Baldessari has selected masterpieces from the 18th to the 20th century by artists, including Chardin, de Chirico, Courbet, David, Duchamp, Gaugin, Hockney, Magritte, Malevich, Manet, Matisse and Warhol. In each instance, he gives the works a new lease of life by choosing a fragment and interpreting it as a complete image in its own right before doubling or pairing it with a text that appears as a title. For example, works in Double Vision pair one artists name with a fragment of work from another well-known artist; Double Feature combines a fragment of an Old Master painting with a title from film noir; Double Bill juxtaposes images culled from two works, with one of the artists named below and the other not; and Double Play couples an image with a title from a song.
I like to create new meaning. The way to do that is to bring two things togetherwhether it is two words, two images or image and wordbut you need to get them close enough so theres some sort of synapse and something new is created. It could end up as Dr. Frankenstein disastrous or a third meaning is created. I find that quite interesting. ---John Baldessari, July 2013
Co-curated by Garages new Chief Curator, Kate Fowle, and Garages International Advisor, Hans Ulrich Obrist, 1+1=1 is presented as part of the citywide cultural program developed in conjunction with the 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art.
John Baldessari was born in 1931 in National City, California, USA and currently lives and works in Santa Monica, California. A pioneer of conceptual art practice, the artists career spans five decades and embraces painting, photography, film, video, books, prints, objects and installation.
Since his first show in 1968, Baldessari has exhibited widely across Europe and the USA, producing nearly 100 solo exhibitions by 2013. His first retrospective was organized by the New Museum in New York in 1981; a decade later, in 1990, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles developed a survey show that travelled across the United States; and in 1995, This Not That was the first retrospective to be organized in Europe by Cornerhouse, Manchester, which travelled to London, Stuttgart, Ljubljana, Oslo and Lisbon. In 2009, the artist was the subject of a lifetime retrospective, Pure Beauty, organized by Tate Modern in London, which travelled to Museu dArt Contemporain in Barcelona; Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York throughout 2011.
Participating in hundreds of group exhibitions all over the world since 1957, Baldessari has been selected for six Whitney Biennials (1969, 1972, 1977, 1979, 1982, 2008), three Documentas (1972, 1982, 2012) and two Venice Biennales (1997, 2009). In 2011, Baldessari was included in eleven of the 40 exhibitions developed as part of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945 1980.
The artist curated his first show in 1979 in San Francisco, and most recently, in 2007 with the collection at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. In 2006, he co-curated and designed Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 1994, he was invited to work with the collection at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York for Artists Choice: John Baldessari.
John Baldessari: Catalogue Raisonné: Volume One: 1956 1974 was published by Yale University Press (New Haven and London, 2012). John Baldessari: Catalogue Raisonne: Volume Two: 1975 1986 is forthcoming (2013). This year, the first publication of Baldessaris writings entitled, More Than You Wanted to Know About John Baldessari: Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Meg Cranston and Hans Ulrich Obrist, will be published by JRP|Ringier.
Over his career, the artist has received numerous awards, including the Kaiserring by the city of Goslar, Germany (2012); the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale (2009); the Lifetime Achievement Award, Americans for the Arts, New York (2005) and the Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement, College Art Association, New York (1999).
A long-time teacher, Baldessari was on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia (1970 1988) and the University of California, Los Angeles (1996 2007). He received a bachelors (1953) and masters (1957) degrees from San Diego State College, continuing his studies at Otis Art Institute (1957 1959).