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Opening: John Baldessari at Mai 36 Galerie

  • MAI 36 Galerie 37 Rämistrasse Zürich, ZH, 8001 Switzerland (map)

John Baldessari

Opening: Sunday, June 10, 11am
Exhibition: June 9 through July 28

The exhibition at Mai 36 Galerie presents new works by American artist John Baldessari, who has been represented by the gallery since 1991. The new group of works reprises combinations of text and image, and melds the motif of various windmills and a wind farm with a textual field in contrasting color.

Baldessari, who will celebrate his 87th birthday in June, explores the relationship between image and language by deploying writing as a means of (visual) expression. This approach brings together two kinds of communication within a single work and addresses the complex relationship between two fundamentally different forms of human articulation. 

The visual motifs in his latest series of works are interspersed with captions in the form of brief phrases or even just a single pronoun, article or suchlike, reiterated in the respective title. For instance, the works And (2017) and As (2017) designating a windmill or wind turbine are captioned with these conjunctions, while the works This Is To Say (2017) and Look At Me (2017) appear to bear random phrases suggesting some divergence between image and text.

In general, a text explains an image and an image illustrates a text. But because the captions here are not obviously related to the images, John Baldessari undermines the fundamental concept behind our conventional reading habits. Baffling, as some of the conflicting juxtapositions might seem, the associations they trigger open up a broad spectrum of possible interpretations and surprising new perceptions. Ultimately, what lies behind this seemingly arbitrary approach is the artistic intention of prompting the viewer to pursue new avenues of thinking that can stimulate reflection and innovative thought processes. 

American artist John Baldessari (born 1931 in National City, California) has, since the 1960s, been regarded as one of the most outstanding and versatile proponents of conceptual art. His forms of expression include painting, drawing, photography and video. His works have been shown in some of the world’s leading museums and galleries, most recently in a 2018 solo exhibition at Museo Jumex in Mexico City. 
While teaching at the California Institute of the Arts, Baldessari has influenced generations of artists and has come to be regarded as the father of the Post Studio Art Class, which spawned such leading artists as David Salle, James Welling, Matt Mullican, Troy Brauntuch and many more besides.

The opening is on Sunday, June 10, 2018, 11 a.m.

We look forward to seeing you at the gallery and thank you for your interest.

Mai 36 Galerie
Victor Gisler