Through the Wood. This exhibition brings together a hundred or so works by the Canadian artist done between 1978 and 2008 and taken from public and private collections in Europe and North America. Graham uses different supports (books, video, sculpture, device-machines, painting, photography, installation, printed material and music) to produce works that defy authority and some key concepts of the history of contemporary art, and play with perception.
Curated by Friedrich Meschede
This exhibition brings together a hundred or so works by the Canadian artist Rodney Graham done between 1978 and 2008 and taken from public and private collections in Europe and North America. Graham uses different supports (books, video, sculpture, device-machines, painting, photography, installation, printed material and music) to produce works that defy authority and some key concepts of the history of contemporary art, and play with perception.
Graham’s work has a pronounced cerebral character and often includes art history and intellectual references from the time of the Enlightenment to the present day. His use of appropriation techniques enables him to pay tribute to some of the masters of the arts, literature, philosophy or pop music. Moreover, he makes use of a respectful irony to desacralise their unquestionable influence and suggest a new way of seeing them. From Sigmund Freud to Donald Judd (in direct confrontation in some pieces), from Edgar Allan Poe to Georg Büchner, from Jeff Wall to Pablo Picasso, they all provide the material or conceptual reference for many of Graham’s pieces.
Cyclical repetition, multiple reflection and spiral deviation are recurring elements in his work, and conjure up altered states of perception or a pendular movement from wakefulness to unconsciousness, from reality to fiction, from nature to culture, from light to shadow.
An outstanding element of the exhibition is a major compilation of books and sculptures, installations and machines based on books of Graham’s that come from a peculiar library that shows his interpolations, appendices, bookmarks, reading and exhibition devices in the style of Judd, among other pieces. The exhibition also includes the series of 21 pictures Picasso, My Master (2005), his first incursion into painting, which reconstructs the aura of mastery that surrounds Picasso’s work with a touch of humour.
The catalogue published on the occasion of this exhibition includes texts by Friedrich Meschede, Julian Heynen and Christa-Maria Lerm-Hayes and Yves Gevaert. The design is by Filiep Tacq.
A small part of the exhibition can be seen at the Museo Picasso in Barcelona.
Meschede. Exhibition organised by the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), a coproduction with the Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, and Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg.
Image: Rheinmetall / Victoria 8, 2003
Head: Inés Martínez Ribas
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Opening: Friday 29 January 2010
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