New Work is the most recent exhibition by the American artist Adam Pendleton at Pace London, and precedes Pendleton’s presentation in the Belgian Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. Pendleton’s cross-disciplinary practice draws from experimental literature, Dadaism, Minimalism, and Conceptualism. His work also references African- American political and cultural movements from the 1960s to today, including the Civil Rights, Black Power, and Black Arts Movements.
The exhibition, presented in the first floor gallery, will feature oil on canvas paintings, a large site-specific wall work, a sculptural work, and a silkscreen piece from his INDEPENDANCE series, all of which explore the relationship between politics, language, and race, and consider how history bears on the present.
In his new Black Lives Matter paintings Pendleton responds to the political demonstrations that erupted following the highly publicized deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown. The series’ eponymous phrase became a rallying cry across the United States following the fatal Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown, an eighteen-year-old black man, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.
Pendleton’s new paintings – made with what he describes as a low-tech “painting machine” – have a unique surface that lies between handmade and machine-made. The machine sprays the phrase on an abstract ground, creating a tension between overt and abstract modes of representation. He has also created a wall work that is an enlargement of a collage featuring the phrase “BLACK LIVES MATTER.” These new works echo a sentiment expressed by Judith Butler in the New York Times: “One reason the chant ‘Black Lives Matter’ is so important is that it states the obvious but the obvious has not yet been historically realized.”
Pendleton also continues to expand the visual language of his Black Dada project, whose core paintings depict cropped images of Sol LeWitt’s Incomplete Open Cubes (1974) with isolated letters from the phrase “BLACK DADA.” A sculpture composed of these letters will rest against the walls of the gallery. The sculpture’s mirror-polished steel surface has been silkscreened with pages from the Black Dada Reader, an anthology edited by the artist. This new work brings the letters from his Black Dada paintings into three-dimensional form.
Courtesy of PACE London.
Adam Pendleton - New Work
Pace London, April 16 - May 23