Following on from a Berlin show that opened a couple of months ago at Sprüth Magers, Californian artist John Baldessari has recently also seen to the opening of his first ever show in Russia at Moscow’s Garage Centre of Contemporary Culture.
Co-curated by Garage’s new Chief Curator, Kate Fowle, and Garage International Advisor, Hans Ulrich Obrist, 1+1=1 features 44 works from the artist’s 2011-2012 ‘Double’ series. In these works, Baldessari transforms fragments of art from the 18th to 20th centuries by artists including: Chardin, de Chirico, Courbet, David, Duchamp, Gaugin, Hockney, Magritte, Malevich, Manet, Matisse and Warhol, in order to create new work and prod viewers to reconsider these familiar iconic works.
It’s a playful double take on the canon of art history and continues his longstanding investigation into the tensions between word and image. Works in ‘Double Vision’ pair one artist’s name with a visual fragment from another well-known artist; ‘Double Feature’ combines an outtake of an Old Master painting with a title from film noir; and ‘Double Bill’ juxtaposes images culled from two works, with one of the artists named in the title and the other not.
Baldessari explains his interest in doubling in Artlyst: “I think the idea of doubling for me issues from asking whether two things that look alike are really the same or if they’re different. It’s a mindset; some people think that one thing looks like another and others don’t. I like that sort of conflict. I play with it a lot.”
In Moscow last month, we had a preview of the art exhibition and visited the temporary Shigeru Ban designed summer pavilion adjacent to the centre. Garage Director, Anton Belov, took our little group on a golf-buggy tour of Gorky Park to see the once famous, now derelict, 1960s Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) restaurant. This will be the site of the future permanent Garage to be renovated by Rem Koolhaas and OMA, and slated to open in 2014. We also spent some time ferreting around the Garage offices to see where all the magic happens! Check out all the photos below.