In the head of John Baldessari

'Wrong', by John Baldessari (1966-1968). lacma wrong image After a first foray into the world of art through abstract painting in the fifties, a visit to

In the head of John Baldessari
'Wrong', by John Baldessari (1966-1968). lacma

wrong image

After a first foray into the world of art through abstract painting in the fifties, a visit to an exhibition of the dadaist Marcel Duchamp encouraged her to John Baldessari to venture into terrain more experimental. From the video installation or sculpture, few disciplines were since then he is out of his reach. One of the means by which more and better transgressed was with the photography. Between 1966 and 1968, the artist created the picture Wrong (wrong or incorrect), which already works with what is probably his most recognized pathway of questioning of the truths pre-established: the intersection between the image (photographic or pictorial, which for him were the same) and the text. In this piece, a self portrait of yours in front of a palm tree, Baldessari reflects on the artistic quality of the photograph beyond the formal beauty or the exquisite composition, at the same time that creates questions in the head of the viewer to mix in a visual representation that is very specific with that word, wrong, full of senses ambigüos: what Is wrong with the artist, the image, your protagonist...? What is right and what is not when it comes to shape one's own subjectivity expressive?

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Dies John Baldessari, the conceptual artist who burned his own work

The end is a new beginning

it Was a warm summer evening. The calendar marked 1970 and the locator map is located in San Diego, California. With the help of friends and students of art, Baldessari made a collection of all the paintings that he had produced between 1953 and 1966 and which still retained, in around a hundred. Shortly before the had destroyed by jumping on them, causing them to shreds. That Friday gave them their final rest in a funeral home where, as if a dead body is involved, the burned to make the ashes. Documented in images, the gesture is radical and dramatic –motivated in part by prosaic logistical issues, as Baldessari had just found work as a teacher of art, one of the main tasks of his life, and he should move to Los Angeles from your National City home; and the other, by their disaffection towards the trends of painting of the sixties, marked the beginning of the legend of Baldessari as the godfather of conceptual art. He called it the Project of cremation and concluded that it was "the best work he had undertaken".

The art never will be boring

After startup of creative destruction, Baldessari himself in their expeditions text-visual pieces, as I will not make any more boring art (I will Not create more art boring, 1971), a repetition of the same phrase which punishment school. This composition brings together many of the features that defined its unique approach: the use of language as a visual element; the putting into question of the nature and function of images; the reflection on the usefulness of words as an element of explanatory internal and external to the work of art and, above all, the use of irony and sense of humour as transmitters of meanings. The fact that there were a few students in Canada who actually wrote the words (first mode of “exhibition”, on the walls of a room, and then, the result of a workshop, on a print preserved in the MoMA), raises further questions about the notion of authorship and the value of manual labour.

'Beast (Orange) Being Stared At: With Two Figures (Green, Blue)', the work of 2004 of John Baldessari. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Commissioned by Deutsche Bank AG in consultation with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin

"The guy who put points on the faces of the people"

from the eighties, the artist made his own the concept's postmodern apropiacionismo. This time without texts by medium, Baldessari reused in collages photographic images of characters that had covered the head with colorful stickers. In this way, the plundering of his personality at the time that made it into a sort of object consumable by the view. Ideas such as recycling, re-use, juxtaposition and pastiche are erected as well as struts of your career. In the fun video is a Brief history of John Baldessari, narrated by Tom Waits, the artist ensures that you suspect that in a hundred years will be remembered, precisely, “as the guy who put points on the face of the people”.

'Sudden fear' (Fear of sudden), work exhibited in the exhibition '1+1=1', by John Baldessari. Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin London

A sum what is illogical?

In recent years, Baldessari made works centered on the figures of the great masters of art history. In 2013 he mounted his first exhibition in Russia, 1+1=1, a title that references one of your obsessions: that the sum of text and images does not result in an addition to use. The works in the show emparejaban –among other things– images of the works of the great masters of the EIGHTEENTH to the TWENTIETH century, such as Gustave Courbet or David Hockney, with the title of a song or a film noir movie or the name of another artist. The result was a short circuit between the meaning of the images and the words, forcing the viewer to rethink their beliefs about the accuracy and arbitrariness of the things that we say about that we perceive.

Updated Date: 07 January 2020, 00:00

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