Currently at Spruth Magers Gallery in Berlin, Germany is a solo exhibition, “Storyboard (In 4 Parts)”, of a new series of large-format storyboard canvases created this year by Los Angeles based artist, John Baldesari. For almost five decades now, John Baldessari has numbered among the most important figures of contemporary art. His uninhibited and tabooless perspective onto art and the world in which it arises, along with his ambivalent attitude toward painting, Concept Art, and Appropriation Art, have had an enduring influence on several generations of visual artists – from David Salle and Jack Goldstein to Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger.
If there is a recurrent theme in Baldessari’s œuvre, then it is his patient approach toward undermining the clichés and romanticized stories which we often uncritically tell ourselves. These clichés include not only our perception of the world which to a large extent is controlled by the media, but also certain characteristics of contemporary art. Baldessari’s repudiation of the painterly image has in the meantime become legendary. His Cremation Project from 1970, in which he caused the paintings which he had painted between 1953 and 1966 to be burnt to ashes, numbers among the founding works of Concept Art. But Baldessari freed himself as well from those aspects of conceptuality which had in the meantime become clichés. The storyboards are the result of a long development which, in a certain sense, has brought Baldessari back to the pictorial space of the painter – but in a manner which almost causes this pictorial space to implode. These works are pictures, and at the same time they are not.
The exhibition runst hrough November 2nd, 2013.