KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany 24 Feb 2017 - 14 May 2017
Adam Pendleton, WE (we are not successive), 2015, Courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery, New York
KW Institute for Contemporary Art presents the first German institutional solo show by American artist Adam Pendleton (born 1984 in Richmond, US).
Pendleton’s practice interweaves the language of politics, history, and display as a way of confronting the past and present. Through the use of complex systematic structures his work undercuts the ingrained perception and representation of social history. His work moves fluidly between paintings, wall-based installations, photographic collage, video, performance, and publishing. Through collage, layering, and repetition, Pendleton recontextualizes his subjects, prompting the viewer to recognize and reconsider familiar cultural references.
Pendleton’s exhibition shot him in the face occupies the entire third floor of KW with one large-scale gesture—a wall that diagonally cuts across the exhibition space. The first sentence from the poem Albany by poet Ron Silliman functions as the exhibition’s point of departure. Pendleton appropriates the opening words of the text—“If the function of writing is to ‘express the world’“— and transforms it into monumental work spanning the entirety of the constructed wall. Layers upon layers of Pendleton’s works are also “pasted” onto the wall. These various arrangements, including posters, framed collages, and sculptural objects based on Pendleton’s extensive archival material, incorporate images from various sources such as art history, African independence movements, display systems, poetry, and French cinema—all kept within a consistently blackand-white aesthetic.
As a counterpoint to Pendleton’s work, the exhibition includes one of Ian Wilson’s monochromatic paintings, which were created with the conceptual aim of producing distilled, non-referential objects without metaphoric content.
The exhibition Adam Pendleton: shot him in the face is generously supported by Pace Gallery, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon, and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, where it will be presented from May 27 to September 10, 2017.