Our ideas are fragmented – events in the day – deconstructed and recomposed. They take place alongside everything else. We want to contribute, to fly with the movement. Are we primarily on top of history or in front of it? Insisting on language as an unavoidably present, even transcendental ambiguity, refusing both the limits of representation and the critical void of abstraction. They insist on being read. They do not speak clearly.
Our ideas are singular – a void in the night – consolidated and broken apart. They take place in a vacuum. We don’t want to participate and instead sink endlessly. Are we primarily underneath history or behind it? Insisting on silence as an unavoidably continual, even concrete precision, refusing to give up representation and embracing the critical void of abstraction. They insist on being absorbed into the context. They speak clearly.
This exhibition brings together two artists working in parallel. The work of Liam Gillick and Adam Pendleton operates within an understanding that forms of abstraction cannot evade the contradictions of history and the enduring pains of the present.
By destroying the abstract via making it concrete, the ambient and the temporary are heightened and become an enduring associative abstraction that replaces the lack in the artwork. Tackling the job of producing something concrete through a process of abstraction neither reproduces abstraction nor does it provide us with anything truly autonomous. It produces a lack and points towards further potentially endless processes of abstraction.
Bringing together new paintings, prints, wall graphics, and films the exhibition is a continuation of the artists’ mutual respect for each other’s practice.
Adam Pendleton, a New York based artist, is known for work animated by what the artist calls “Black Dada,” a critical articulation of blackness, abstraction, and the avant-garde. Drawing from an archive of language and images, he makes conceptually rigorous and formally inventive paintings, collages, videos, and installations that insert his work into broader conversations about history and contemporary culture. Pendleton’s multilayered visual and lexical fields often reference artistic and political movements from the 1900s to today, including Dada, Minimalism, the Civil Rights movement, and the visual culture of decolonization.
Liam Gillick, a New York based artist, is known for work that deploys multiple forms to expose the new political control systems that emerged at the beginning of the 1990s. Gillick’s work exposes the dysfunctional aspects of a modernist legacy in terms of abstraction and architecture when framed within a globalized, neo-liberal consensus. His work extends into structural rethinking of the exhibition as a form. Over the last twenty-five years Gillick has also been a prolific writer and critic of contemporary art. Throughout this time Gillick has extended his practice into experimental venues and collaborative projects with artists including Philippe Parreno, Lawrence Weiner, Louise Lawler, and the band New Order.
The artists wish to thank Casey Kaplan and Pace Gallery for their collaboration.
Liam GillickInstallation view, Liam Gillick Adam Pendleton / Adam Pendleton Liam Gillick, Eva Presenhuber, New York, 2018. Photo: Matt Grubb. Courtesy the artists and Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich / New York